Perhaps the biggest shock of the Geneva auto show is this Bentley SUV – the Exp 9 F. This is by the far the biggest talking point of the show, but perhaps not in the way that its designers – and the VW group – would have hoped. The interior, in parts, is exquisitely detailed and feels beautifully bespoke.
But it’s the exterior that has made people sit up and take note – or more accurately reported – pull funny faces. We will wait until post show to conduct a full design review to explore further as to why, but for now we will leave you with a few of the choicest quotes that other designers have made when speaking to us about this car: “Like a London taxi cab from the front” doesn’t get things off to a good start. “Like a bad Chinese interpretation of what a Bentley SUV might be” was very cutting. But “makes the Lagonda SUV of 2009 look positively reasonable and well resolved”, is perhaps the one that will hurt most.
Suffice to say that, in recent years, we cannot remember such a negative reaction to a show car. There’s clearly some value and indeed logic to Bentley exploring an SUV direction. But in its current exterior design form, most will be hoping that this isn’t it.