Bentley is close to a decision on the production future of its EXP 9 F SUV concept, according to recent reports out of the US.
Speaking with the UK marque’s CEO Wolfgang Schreiber in Detroit, industry site Automotive News Europe suggests the 2012 Geneva concept’s controversial appearance was all part of Bentley’s wider plan for the model.
"The main intention was not to show the final styling but to get feedback from the market,” Schreiber said. "If you saw the (revised) styling, you would say, 'That is a real Bentley.'"
This suggests that if green-lit, the production model will feature more contemporary Bentley styling than the hard-edged concept.
Reports of a styling revision emerged after the concept’s Geneva debut last March, with the subsequent appointment of Luc Donckerwolke as head of Bentley design encouraging confidence in the eventual product.
Later reports suggested a revised concept would appear in 2012, while others claimed the European economic crisis had forced a delay for the high-riding Bentley and its Lamborghini Urus cousin.
If given an official go-ahead, Automotive News Europe reports a production Bentley SUV will launch within the next three years, and is expected to ride on a version of the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg/Porsche Cayenne/Audi Q7 platform.
Despite ever-increasing pressure to improve emissions and efficiency, the Bentley SUV is expected to continue with brand-characteristic eight and 12 cylinder engines.
"Bentleys are luxury cars, but people like this effortless acceleration and torquey engines," Schreiber said.