Word has it that Bentley’s EXP 9 F concept SUV – including a V6 plug-in hybrid version – is a “foregone conclusion” for production that could begin as soon as mid-2014.
According to sources quoted by Autocar, the fast, stylized box on wheels built to the discriminating standards of a vehicle that will wear Bentley’s badge is “in the development phase, with a dedicated start of production date and a price.”
The plug-in hybrid concept is said to offer 0-62 mph times below five seconds, yet also capable of 18.6 miles all-electric range with CO2 emissions said to be 130g/km.
Furthermore, to call it a “box on wheels” may be be considered by some as a less than fair assessment. To be sure, Bentley is playing up the company’s heritage of stellar vehicles considered spiritual descendants to the 9 F including the “bespoke Mulsanne and the high performance Continental GT, GTC and Flying Spur.”
While Bentley will build at least one version for well-heeled greensetters, the EXP 9 F will also be one of the most powerful production SUVs when equipped with non-hybrid powerplants. The concept’s W12 is rated around 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, and the V8 turbo is estimated at around 500 horsepower.
A diesel engine option is also being considered.
The vehicle will roll on an all-new platform from the next generation Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.
Styling wise, the interior will carry over largely as-is from the concept, but the exterior will be updated. Bentley is considering three competing proposals for its final exterior styling and the decision for production form is expected in the next few months.
The 9 F could account for one-third of Bentley’s sales mid-decade, or somewhere around 5,000 annual units.