by Gunnar Heinrich ::: IMG Bentley Motors ::: EXP 9F
AND so… Bentley has designs on bringing its own SUV into the world. The same carmaker that brought you the magnificent Azure and compelling new Continental GT wants to sell something impractically practical.
Fellow VW subsidiary Porsche has done it with the Cayenne and laughed all the way to the bank. Maserati’s doing it (and I applauded them for it, though now I’m unsure). Aston’s even flirted with a 4×4 Lagonda and the press put it down.
The business rationale is straightforward: why let high net worth customers drift to Land Rover in order to round out the stable?
Plenty of new, misguided Bentley clients are going to be fooled into buying the production variant of the EXP 9F. They’ll be led to believe this lardy albatross unique and plush and more exclusive than a Range Rover. Bentley’s German management doubtless think this a shrewd calculation and see this as opportunity to expand sales further in markets like the Near East, China, and America.
Too bad they couldn’t have figured out a less hackneyed path for expanding sales. An SUV, particularly one this pointlessly unremarkable, from a company with no history in off-roading let alone “utility”, has no place in W.O.’s pantheon of grand touring legends.
Buy Range Rover.