Mike Stevens | May 3, 2012

Its unveiling at this year's Geneva Motor Show may not have gone over as well as hoped, but Bentley expects its EXP 9 F SUV to be a top seller.

According to industry paper Automotive News, Bentley boss Wolfgang Duerheimer has confirmed a goal of 3000 annual sales of the production model.

Speaking with the paper in Beijing, Duerheimer said that he is confident of a green light from Bentley parent Volkswagen before the year is out, with production likely to begin in 2015.

He said that the EXP 9 F is likely to begin at around 160,000 euros, making it the most expensive series-production SUV on the market.

"At present, we are working out our internal Bentley business case and it looks very optimistic," he added.

In concept form, Bentley's SUV is powered by the carmaker's 6.0 litre W12 engine, but production versions are likely to include this engine and the smaller 4.0 litre V8 available with the Continental GT coupe.

As for the car's design, Bentley interior design chief Robin Page said that the SUV's was driven by Chinese preferences where, along with the US, the brand expects to make the bulk of its sales.

"The concept was a balance between what we called 'Shanghai limousine luxury' and 'British utility'," Page told Automotive News.

The car's look was reportedly described as "a little heavy-handed" in a recent What Car interview with a Bentley insider, who confirmed that the carmaker's designers are now back on the job to develop a new version.

The revised concept is expected to get smaller headlights, set closer together for a less bulky appearance. Whether the car's designers will revisit the idea behind the carved profile and the roulette wheels at each corner remains to be seen.

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