Earlier this spring at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Bentley pulled the covers off the EXP9 F Concept, its first ever SUV in its 94-year history.
Now, just six-weeks later at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, the luxury automaker has confirmed details of the range of engines it plans to offer with the EXP 9.
That’s if it goes into production, of course.
As we’d already suspected, Bentley plans to offer three engine choices with the new SUV, including its new 500hp, 4.0-liter gasoline V-8 engine and a plug-in hybrid V-6.
But just as Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer promised last year, Bentley isn’t quite ready to end its relationship with the W-12 engine yet, regardless of its environmental impact.
As a consequence, Bentley says it plans to offer customers a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12 engine if they so wish, developing 600hp and what we assume is a fairly small gas mileage.
Despite what we’d previously heard, that particular engine won’t be offered with a plug-in drivetrain configuration.
Bentley EXP 9 F Concept live photos, 2012 Geneva Motor Show
Bentley EXP 9 F Concept live photos, 2012 Geneva Motor ShowEnlarge Photo
At face value, it may appear that Bentley is offering the plug-in hybrid V-6 drivetrain as an attempt to appease critics of its usual gas-guzzling offerings.
Look further, and the plug-in hybrid offering makes sense, especially considering its promised 18-mile all-electric range: it’s all to do with city driving.
Like other premium and luxury automakers, none of Bentley's current offerings can be driven in cities with zero-emissions or partial zero-emissions zones.
In fact, drive any regular gas-guzzling Bentley into London, England, and you’d be faced with a $16 daily congestion charge or a nasty penalty charge to drive around.
Drive a zero- or low-emissions car into London, and provided you’ve paid the annual $16 registration fee, you can drive anywhere you please.
Just like the unholy rebuilding of the tiny Scion IQ into the luxury Aston Martin Cygnet, the plug-in hybrid EXP 9 could offer Bentley's prestige customers a vehicle they can use in inner city zero-emissions zones without feeling like a complete commoner.
2012 Bentley EXP 9 F SUV concept
2012 Bentley EXP 9 F SUV conceptEnlarge Photo
Of course, that’s only if Bentley commit to making the EXP 9, which it hasn’t yet.
After all, to do that before making entirely sure it was feasible would be vulgar, surely?