Posted Aug 24th 2012 4:28PM
While at Pebble Beach, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer sat down with Inside Line to elaborate on plans for the production version of its controversial EXP 9 F concept SUV. As recently as a month ago, the blue behemoth was still being talked about as if a final decision hadn't been made, Durheimer didn't appear to show any reticence when discussing what the report cited as "the 2015 production date."
The big news is that no "radical redesign" of its exterior is planned before it arrives. That could be wordplay hinging on the term "radical," since reports of a redesign surfaced the same month the EXP 9 F was revealed, and a report in Autocar last month cited Volkswagen Group sources as saying "the front and rear end styling would need to be modified" for production. On the other hand, Dürheimer told Inside Line that Bentley customers rated the looks of the SUV "only a 7 out of 10."
We're not sure if he meant the word "only" in humility or sarcasm; Dürheimer has plenty of cheek, as evidenced in his line that Bentley has "solved [the] problem" of there being no SUV on the market above the $170,000 mark.
At whatever price that ends up being, the EXP 9 F will be able to go off-road but won't be a devoted off-roader, capable enough, however, to handle Middle Eastern dunes, polo fields and yacht launches. And don't let anyone tell you that Bentley doesn't care about the help, either: the lauded interior, which isn't expected to change much for production, might get optional third-row seating for the owner's au pair. All those Swedish lasses can rest easy now.
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