New 4x4 arrives in 2016, once Bentley combines off-road ability with high-speed performance
22 March 2014

Bentley is planning a world-beating 200mph top-speed for its forthcoming SUV, which will be seen next year before sales begin in 2016.

It is understood that Bentley’s redesign of its EXP 9 F concept, which is being undertaken by new design chief Luc Donckerwolke, is driven by the desire for a 200mph top speed. This will help the SUV fit in with Bentley’s range of high-speed coupés and saloons.

The EXP 9 F, first seen at Geneva in 2012, has been in the production engineering phase for about 12 months, and a significant part of that process has been a fundamental redesign. “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 200mph top speed target in mind, Bentley has lowered the roofline, smoothed off the rear-end styling to create a more slippery shape and paid strong attention to the underbody aerodynamics.

The lower roofline will reduce the frontal area and compensate for the wide stance of the SUV, expected at a near two-metre overall width.

Bentley has also been juggling the requirements of mainly on-road luxury use with an ability to go off-road.

Because of the 200mph top speed target, the underbody has to be smooth and feature clever aerodynamics to ensure high-speed stability.

Attention to aerodynamic detail in the underbody is not usually a prerequisite in SUVs, where protection from rock damage and mud ingress are usually priorities. Additionally, it will be necessary to develop tyres which are capable of very high sustained speeds while also performing well off-road.

Our Verdict

Full of character and still able to impress, particularly as a V8

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Comments
12

22 March 2014
It may be just me but does this car look incredibly Bad Taste - so therefore perfect for footballlers and their wives.

22 March 2014
An SUV going past you at 200mph. Scary stuff.

22 March 2014
When there's money about,and they are prepared to pay,then why not?.

Peter Cavellini.

22 March 2014
I know this is just a guess what it might look like, but i really hope it doesnt end up looking like a Ssangyong with a Bentley grill stuck on it.

22 March 2014
As Ettore Bugatti said, "worlds fastest lorry".

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

22 March 2014
Companies like Bentley are riding the wave of new Eastern money, but they can't last in that mold. At some point they'll need to develop cars that are a bit more socially acceptable in the Western 21st century. I guess as Porsche become known as an SUV company, it's no shame if Bentley do too..

22 March 2014
What the Chinese and Russians want, they get. Rolls-Royce is on it too. Well done Ferrari and LDM for refusing to succumb to such hideousness.

22 March 2014
Do they really need to worry too much about its off-road performance? And I know the main pic is just an Autocar image, but would a Bentley really have a window line like that?

22 March 2014
.... of something like this. 200+mph, large, heavy and thirsty ? I'm sure that Bentley want to maximise sales and grab as many customers as they can in the cash-rich middle-east and the new emerging markets of China and Russia where there seem to be a lot of people who are suddenly, inexplicably finding themselves super-rich and wishing to show off their wealth, but this is surely a step too far for a once proud British marque. I think VW Group will find that the Bentley name will soon become synonymous with "questionable taste", "showing off" and "b**g*r the environment" - not something they will want, I would have thought. And it looks awful as well.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

23 March 2014
What a truly splendid idea!

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