Bespoke SUV takes ugly to a new levelComment on this story
Motoristi the world over are divided as to whether the Bentley EXP 9 F SUV concept is the ugliest thing on four wheels or just a practical joke in very poor taste.
As of now, it loses out on both counts.
This mobile monolith is the Tresor, an ultra-luxury SUV designed (if that is the mot juste) by German studio Atelier Valdeig, to be built to order on the Audi Q7 platform by Armortech, a company that specialises in individual luxury-car conversions and special protection vehicles
In French the word means 'treasure'; in German it means 'safe' or 'strong room' - which is an interesting way of expressing the idea behind the project - combining luxury and security for paranoid plutocrats.
Or, depending on which side of the bullet-proof glass you're one, a five-star mobile prison.
The starting point is the Q7 platform, which is, of course, shared by the VW Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne, so there's a broad choice of engines available, up to and including Audi's 370kW/1000Nm V12 TDI, either in standard trim or well tweaked.
The Armortech guys are at pains to point out that this is not a standard shell with add-on kit parts. Each body will be hand-built from scratch by some of Europe's leading bespoke and short-run engineering specialists, with options such as an extended wheelbase, a partition between front and rear seats and full armouring.
And, just in case you need to upstage your neighbour's HumVee, you can ask for the “brawny wide-body version”.
Honest - we couldn't make this stuff up.
The shape has been styled (using the term loosely) by Valdieg “to marry traditional British design cues and sportiness”. It is, at the very least, an interesting insight into what German stylists see as “timeless British elegance” - especially as the seats and dashboard come from a noted English luxury-car maker, which has, perhaps wisely, chosen to remain anonymous.
State-of-the-art infotainment and convenience features are taken for granted, and the level of interior luxury is limited only by the customer's imagination, which - considering the type of people who are likely to buy one - is a pretty scary thought.