In January’s round-up of the Detroit Auto Show we introduced you to the 2013 Bentley GT V8, a luxury sports coupe with a flair for traditional touring specifications. Today we bring you one of the biggest pieces of news out of the Geneva Car Show, the world’s first Bentley SUV, the EXP 9 F ‘Falcon.'
Named for the eponymous bird, the Falcon delivers the style, grace, and power associated with this speed demon of the sky. The EXP, or Experimental vehicle, has been Bentley's performance concept line for decades highlighted by the 2001 EXP Speed 8, taking first in the Le Mans race of 2003.
Like most concepts it's not aimed at immediate production; Bentley has made it clear that the purpose of this vehicle is to test the reception of such a radical shift in direction for the company.
Further to this, Bentley has stated that this SUV has the potential, if produced, to become the first of a third model line to complement its established Continental and Mulsanne ranges. While its other production models have been quite conservative in terms of detailing and changes from one generation to the next, the design team has been open to progressive and adaptive ideas in building this vehicle from the ground up. Both muscular and refined at the same time, this car is just as much at home at top speed as it is arriving at a black-tie affair.
The interior uses the same handcrafted elements seen in Bentley's other models: saddle leather, hardwood, and refined metals such as bronze, aluminum, and gunmetal. This is in addition to brilliant features such as built-in champagne cooler and uniquely-British design motifs.
Tech-wise, the dash incorporates touchscreens and 3D navigation alongside certain analogue instruments that are a traditional throwback in the car maker’s storied history.
The exciting part for us with the Falcon is the proposed specs Bentley has cooked up. While we were initially hesitant about how a company known for luxury performance would handle moving into the SUV arena (mainly whether they would reduce the engine power options) Bentley surprised us by stating that while it could make do with the new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 or even go hybrid, it would probably go with a twelve-cylinder. Yes you heard us, a W12, 6.0-liter in a sports utility vehicle!
The potential horses with this option would be approximately 600, which could deliver an astounding 590 pounds per foot of torque. These stats are quite similar to the SUV Ferrari has been proposing for the past couple of years, but which the Italian company ultimately decided against. This brings up the argument whether primarily sports and luxury car makers should diversify for sales or stick to their core demographics, but we’ll come back to that in a couple of weeks.
All in all this is one beautiful vehicle, and though it received some varied reviews at Geneva, it could still make it to the road with a few changes (primarily a more efficient engine and smaller size). Personally, we think it’s great, but aren’t most things when they undoubtedly cost over 100K?
ENGINE: W12, 6.0-Liter twin-turbo
HORSES: 600 HP
TORQUE: 590 lb-ft