Bentley’s SUV – Beast turned Beauty?

Good news for everyone with well over €150,000 to spend on a luxury SUV in 2016 (read: very few) – the Bentley SUV has been given the green light and, more importantly, it won’t look anything like the slightly baffled-looking beast which made its début in Geneva in 2012, the imaginatively-named EXP 9 F Concept.

This news has been quite widely welcomed, considering that instead of completely redesigning a new SUV, all Bentley had appeared to do with the concept was shorten previous models, and make the product a little taller. The result, according to quite a lot of people, wasn’t great, something Bentley Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Schreiber has taken into account.

Not so much a thoroughbred stallion as a horse that needed putting down.
Not so much a thoroughbred stallion as a horse that needed putting down.

Just as in the old fairytale, there’s both a happy ending and a hidden beauty beneath the beast. “We listened a lot, and we listened enough. The exterior design was not liked by everyone,” said Schreiber. “We got the message, and we’ve reacted on that. We’ve modified the styling of the car completely.” For those wondering whether the overhaul of the concept was only minor, fear not. When he was asked what has been changed, Schreiber had this to say: “All. Front, rear, sides, roof… it is a true Bentley. Everyone will see, even 100 metres away, that it’s a Bentley.”

Around 2,000 people pre-ordered the luxury SUV without even knowing what the finished article would look like, based only on that unloved concept released in Geneva. You can be sure these weren’t ordinary folks on the street. The Bentley SUV won’t be cheap – according to Schreiber, the new SUV will be competing with the top range vehicles from Range Rover. Considering the latest Range Rover offering, the Autobiography Black, costs about £140,000 (€169,000), expect Bentley’s addition to be somewhere north again.

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