Bentley is continuing to develop its controversial SUV.
Bentley is continuing to develop its controversial SUV.

Some people believe prestige carmakers should stick to their knitting and build prestige cars, but with the worldwide craze for SUVs unabating, Bentley is forging ahead with its first all-terrainer.

The Bentley EXP 9 F design concept was first unveiled at the Geneva motor show earlier this year – generally to much wrinkling of noses and “what were they thinking” comments – but the VW-owned firm is now taking the vehicle on an international road show in the hope that its controversial design finds more favour with potential buyers once they see it in the metal.

Most recently the concept version appeared at last week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK as part of a “systematic and comprehensive process of gauging customer and public reaction to the idea of a Bentley SUV,” according to a company press release.

Next stop on the EXP 9 F’s “win-hearts-and-minds” tour will be the Pebble Beach Concours in California next month to gauge American reaction.

Bentley’s stated intent is to build the fastest and most luxurious SUV in the world when the production version comes out in 2015, but they’ll have some competition from the likes of the Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini’s upcoming Urus SUV, both of which share a platform with the EXP 9 F.

The concept vehicle is powered by a six-litre twin-turbo W12 engine that can be tuned for up to 450kW and 800Nm, but the production model is also expected to offer more economical versions, including Bentley’s recently-launched V8 and perhaps a hybrid drivetrain. -Drive Times