Bentleys are normally recognized for their aesthetic appeal, but when the British automaker showed the Bentley EXP 9F concept at the Geneva show last month, there was a firestorm of negative comments critiquing the ultra-luxe SUV's exterior styling.
While the concept's biggest critics couldn't get past the exterior, they forgot to pay much attention to the concept's detail and craftsmanship, long-time Bentley values. Our exclusive Bentley EXP 9 F photos in the gallery below allow us to get up close and personal with the ultra-luxury SUV concept in a way you may not have seen before.
The usual handcrafted Bentley appointments are found throughout, including the wood trim decorating the dash, center console, steering wheel, and door panels. These trim bits are separated by contrasting polished metal trim, and sumptuous leather seats wear the signature Crewe diamond-quilted design. Silk-topped floormats adorn the cabin's floor and pedals, and the specially designed control knobs add a touch of ruggedness to an extravagant interior. Signature interior features include Bentley's "bullseye" HVAC vents.
The floating center stack is complete with sculpted grab handles that flow from behind the glass surface to the armrests. As for tech bits, a touch screen deploys from the metal trim on the dash and affixes itself atop the center console. Directly behind the steering wheel and in the driver's line of sight is a thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panel displaying information such as 3D navigation.
Of course, rear passengers are also treated to high-tech bits and top-shelf luxury touches. A fold-down keyboard reveals an iPad or other tablet behind each of the front seat headrests, while a smaller screen pops up from the center console. Rear passengers can recline and enjoy a powered footrest, drinks table, and chilled champagne bottles that stay cold thanks to a cooled compartment in the rear armrest.
Outside, the EXP 9 F concept boasts daytime running lights that double as intakes for the big W-12 intercooler. Inspired by the "visual engineering" found in the famous Blower Bentleys, the lights outline a mesh-covered turbine fan design. The turbine theme carries over to the massive 23-inch alloys, which are a nod to the historic Bentley LeMans racers from the 1920s as well as the more modern Speed 8s high-tech racing alloys.
Despite the likelihood that the polarizing EXP 9 F's front end may be redesigned, we hope the finely crafted interior will remain untouched because, after all, it's the inside that really counts.
Photos by Michael Shaffer