Bentley is planning a new 4x4 with a top speed of 322kph, based on the EXP 9 F concept that was first revealed at Geneva in 2012. The forthcoming SUV is slated to be based on a redesigned EXP9-F concept, and has been in the production engineering phase for about 12 months, most of which has been fundamental redesign.
The new SUV which is being undertaken by Bentley’s new design chief, Luc Donckerwolke, is driven by the desire of a 322kph top speed. This will help it fit in with Bentley’s range of high-speed coupé and sedans. "The concept got the idea out there, but we’ve been working on the real car and some things needed to change," a source revealed.
With the speed target in mind, Bentley has lowered the roofline, smoothened off the rear-end styling to create a more slippery shape, and has paid strong attention to the underbody aerodynamics. The lower roofline will reduce the frontal area and compensate for the wide stance of the SUV that is expected to be nearly two-meter width overall. Because of the 200mph top speed target, the underbody has to be smooth and feature clever aerodynamics to ensure high-speed stability. Bentley has also been juggling the requirements of on-road luxury use, with the ability to go off-road.
Attention to aerodynamic detail in the underbody is not usually a prerequisite in SUVs, where protection from rock damage and mud ingress is usually the priority. Additionally, it will also be necessary to develop tyres which are capable of very high sustained speeds that can also perform well off-road.
The new SUV is expected to go on sale sometime in 2016.