It’s time to put an end to all of the rumors surrounding the future Bentley SUV by talking about the real deal. Bentley has unveiled the EXP 9 F at the Geneva Motor Show. This luxury Sport Utility Vehicle concept previews the company’s third model alongside the Mulsanne and the Continental ranges.
The new EXP 9 F looks just how one would expect a Bentley SUV to look. The designers basically took the standard Bentley styling cues and hiked it up to an SUV level. It features Bentley’s famous matrix grille and round lamps, as well as an ultra-wide, two-part split tailgate and twin exhaust tailpipes.
The engine for the EXP 9 F, however, still remains a mystery. The concept was built with a 6.0 liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine under the hood, but the company says that, for the production version, both a 4.0 liter, twin-turbocharged V8 or a hybrid drivetrain could meet the performance requirements.
UPDATE 07/06/2012: Bentley has unveiled a new set of images and a new video for their new EXP 9 F concept. Enjoy!
UPDATE 11/20/12: There’s word that Bentley has come up with a name for the production EXP 9 F. While there’s no official confirmation, but it looks like the SUV will be dubbed as the Falcon.
UPDATE 02/03/13: The Falcon has come and gone. That much appears to be the case after word has come out that Bentley has gone ahead and thrown the EXP 9 F to the dustbin. Can’t say we’re surprised, fellas.
Hit the jump to read more about the Bentley EXP 9 F concept.
We have already heard from Renault about its intentions of having a “big surprise” in store for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which we all anticipate being as exciting as the final production model of the Alpine or as boring as the redesigned Clio. Now Bentley is getting in on this surprise-car theme by bringing its own new unnamed model to Goodwood.
There is very little information on this upcoming model, Actually it is a lot closer to no information than little, as the only word that we have is the luxury coach builder stating that the new model combines “stunning performance with exquisite luxury in the Bentley tradition.” By the description, it sounds almost like the Continental GT Speed that is already set to run at the Goodwood FOS, but it would seem odd to outright compete with its own sport coupe.
This could point to an even sportier car than the Continental GT gracing the "Flying B." Would we even dare to mention the term "sports car" in the same sentence as "Bentley?" If the description that Bentley gave of this car is true, then we very well may see a sleeker and sportier car bowing in at Goodwood.
We know that Bentley has broken its own mold in producing the EXP 9 F SUV concept, which will also be shown at Goodwood. This points toward Bentley’s openness to change, but is it open enough to bang out a super luxurious sports car? We’ll just have to see.
We will keep a close eye on what’s going on with Bentley and we will update you if anything else pops up. Given how tight-lipped Bentley has been so far, we will likely not know anything until the Goodwood FOS opens up on June 28th.
Click past the jump to read Bentley’s press release.
The Queen of England may not have the power that she once had, but she certainly remains a powerful figure in the hearts of all British folks. On June 2, 2012 the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne, which brought about a celebration dubbed the Diamond Jubilee – “Diamond” indicates 60 years, for those wondering.
In the festivities, the Queen was spotted riding around in a rather luxurious automobile that one of our readers keenly pointed out is either a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and he turned to us for help identifying the car and telling him a little about it. Figuring he is not the only person interested in the topic, we felt that a full-on review was in order.
As it turns out, after a good amount of research, we have found out that the queen traveled around in the Jubilee in a 2002 Bentley State Limousine. This is no typical Bentley limo either, as it is fit for a… Well, Queen, of course!
Click past the jump to read our full review of the Queen’s ride.
Not too long ago, we reported on how Wolfgang Durheimer, the former head of Bentley and Bugatti, would be leaving his role as CEO of these two companies under the VW branch and instead moving onto bigger and better things at Audi as part of a reshuffle to help reduce the average age of VW’s board members.
Just a couple of weeks later, we can confirm that an individual has been found to take over Durheimer’s old role as the boss of Bentley and Bugatti, with Wolfgang Schreiber recently being selected. This role change will put Schreiber into a vastly different role than his previous role in the VW group, as he’s currently the head of Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles unit, so it’s clear that the speed and luxury of Bentley and Bugatti will test him.
The changes will take effect on the 1st of September this year, meaning that Durheimer will remain at Bentley and Bugatti for the coming three months where Bugatti is said to be developing the new Galibier sedan, while Bentley is busy at work turning its EXP 9 F SUV concept into a production reality.
These changes co-inside with Volkswagen’s ambitious ‘Strategy 2018,’ where the group hopes to surpass General Motors and Toyota for the coveted title of ‘World’s largest automobile manufacturer’, leading the VW’s head Martin Winterkorn to say, “Our clear goal is to continue our successful course of recent years with great momentum and stability. I am convinced that now more than ever, the Volkswagen Group has the right people in the right positions to make our Strategy 2018 a success.”
It goes without saying that in its very short life, the Bentley EXP 9 F has already faced its fair share of criticism, largely revolving around its controversial styling. However, Bentley is not going to let the haters get in the way of its ambitious plans for the new SUV and if a report by CAR turns out to be correct, the British marque may enter next year’s Dakar Rally to help drum up support for the SUV and preview its off-road capabilities.
Rather than developing a handful of custom racers from scratch, Bentley is said to be considering purchasing VW Touareg’s from the various private teams which race the cars in the Dakar Rally and converting them into off-road machines which will resemble the concept version of the EXP 9 F, even if they only share minimal components.
Despite a company spokeswoman quickly confirming that no decisions have been made in regards to this possible entry into the world’s most grueling rally event, we won’t let that stop us from reporting on what could be an extraordinary racer if Bentley borrows enough components from the VW Touareg racers. VW’s entry actually won the event in its category in 2009, 2010, and 2011, before the factory team pulled out to instead focus on its upcoming World Rally Championship entry next WRC season.
If Bentley does decide to do what is being reported, they would strip the interior bare and simply fit it with a couple of bucket seats, while also installing the necessary fuel and water storage for the long and hot stages of the Dakar. Next, they would likely ditch the large 6.0-liter W12 engine which the top of the range EXP 9 F SUV is expected to feature and replace it with a lighter, more efficient and less powerful engine similar to 296HP units fitted to the Touareg’s.
One could argue that Wolfgang Durheimer has the best job in the world as he runs two of the most prestigious and recognizable car companies in the world; Bentley and Bugatti. As we’re sure you know, both of these companies fall under the Volkswagen brand, but if Automotive News Europe is to be believed, changes are afoot within the mega-company.
Prior to being in charge of Bugatti and Bentley, Durheimer was Porsche’s development chief, and ANE believes that in a re-shuffle of Audi’s management board to reduce the age of its seven-board members, Durheimer will leave his current positions and take up the role as Audi’s development chief. He is said to be superseding Michael Dick, aged 60, in the role.
A selection of other positions throughout the Audi brand are expected to be replaced also, such as the brand’s sales chief and purchasing managers to again reduce the average age of the firm’s management board.
We’re not sure as to why Audi and Volkswagen are so keen to have young board members, as employees should be solely chosen on their abilities rather than their ages, but it’s likely Audi believes some of its current board members are losing their grasp on the ever-changing automotive industry, and perhaps believes bringing some youth to the team will help.
In saying that however, the new members aren’t exactly youthful as Durheimer is 53 and will be replacing a man just 7 years his senior, while Luca de Meo is 44 and expected to replace Audi’s sales chief, 60-year-old Peter Schwartzenbauer. As a result of this switch-up, the position as CEO of Bentley and Bugatti will be up for grabs but it’s unclear who’ll be promoted to that position in the near future.
Bentley’s Continental lineup currently features a GT Coupe and a GTC Convertible, but now rumors are milling around that the company is working on a new GTH, with "H" standing for hybrid. Bentley has already downsized quite a bit with their engines, going from the popular W12 down to a V8 in their new GT. Now it seems as though added pressure from the "greener" way of doing things has prompted them to add an electric motor into the equation.
It is believed that the next hybrid system will be derived from the power source used in the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid and Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid. This means we will see a V6 engine combined with an electric motor, but with more than 380 HP for the sports hybrid. A similar system will also be used for the upcoming Bentley SUV, with an autonomy of 30 kilometers in pure electric mode.
It is rumored that the future GTH will be shown off earlier than we would initially expect, with the 2013 Geneva Motor Show being the prime location for the unveiling. Sales would then begin later in the Summer 2013.
Our favorite Youtube user, Marchettino, has managed to delight us one more time by attending the 2012 edition of the Top Marques Monaco to film all of the amazing vehicles in attendance. We have to admit the list of supercars is quite impressive.
For those who don’t know, the Top Marques is an important supercar show that brings together some of the most expensive and exclusive supercars, hypercars, and tuning projects every year. It’s kind of like Christmas for us auto journalists, but without the big, jolly guy giving one of these supercars to us as a present. This kind of Christmas comes with huge prices and tremendous power backing it up.
Our favorite from the entire list of vehicles in attendance this year is the Koenigsegg Agera R, but the list is much, much longer.
Hit the jump for a full list of the cars featured in the video and pick out your favorite!
Last year a British bespoke tuning company called Imperium has unveiled a very cool tuning package called Audentia based on the Bentley Continental GT. Now the tuner repeats the history, but this time the Audentia package is based on the Bentley Continental GTC. Just like with its coupe sibling, the new Audentia GTC will be built in a limited edition and is now available to order directly only through UK based Imperium.
The Audentia GTC package will be distinguished by a new front bumper with grille, air vents and visually lowering sport side skirts. For the rear the tuner added a custom rear apron with a new subtle boot lip spoiler, rear diffuser and newly designed sports exhaust tips. All the elements will be built in the finest ultra light prepreg autoclave carbon fiber.
Imperium did not revealed the prices for the new tuning kit, but we believe it will be similar to the coupe version: £25,000, which is around $39,400 based on current exchange rates.
Very few people in this world are held in higher regard than Queen Elizabeth II. So when Bentley introduced a special edition Mulsanne at a gala event to open their new dealership in Beijing in honor of the Queen, none of us were really all that surprised.
The model is called the Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition and with the opening of the dealership coinciding with the Queen’s birthday, it only seemed appropriate for the British luxury maker to pay tribute to their beloved figurehead.
The Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition will only be limited to 60 units with each vehicle presenting a year of the Queen’s reign. Likewise, each model distinguishes itself courtesy of a range of handcrafted features that include gold stitching embroidery on the headrests, veneered picnic tables in the rear cabin, and decorated with a gold overlay, a design that apparently pays tribute to the royal carriage. Lastly, the Mulsanne Jubilee Edition also comes with highly-polished, stainless steel treadplate plaques bearing a ‘Bentley Mulliner, England’ and ‘Diamond Jubilee Edition’ script as a way to distinguish the special edition model from the rest of the Mulsanne’s in the world.
“This series of special cars, hand-built by our Mulliner Division, is our way of reciprocating the appreciation for British institutions, creativity and services we have been shown in China," said Richard Charlesworth, Director of Royal and VIP Relations for Bentley Motors.
"And as proud holders of a Royal Warrant we also wanted to provide some memorable examples of British technology and craftsmanship.”