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Bentley has named a new design director to take the German-owned British brand into the future with new models that include the controversial Bentley EXP 9F SUV.

Luc Donckerwolke will take over from Dirk van Braeckel, who shifts within the Volkswagen Group to take up a new post with Volkswagen Group design, currently directed by Walter de Silva.

Donckerwolke’s first priority is certain to be the Bentley SUV that polarised opinions at the 2012 Geneva motor show.

Donckerwolke comes to Bentley from his previous position as head of advanced design for the Volkswagen Group, but his career within the umbrella organisation goes back as far as 1992, when he joined the ranks at Audi as an exterior designer.

Moving to Skoda in 1994 and Lamborghini in 1998 – where he was appointed head of design in 2003 and was involved with designing the Murcielago (pictured below) and Gallardo – Donckerwolke became director of design at Seat in 2005.

Lamborghini Murcielago

De Silva said Donckerwolke would bring a wealth of design talent to Bentley.

“His extensive experience makes him the ideal person to take forward Bentley’s future design language, at a time when the company has significant plans for new models,” he said.

Van Braeckel oversaw the development of the new generations of Bentley Continental and Mulsanne, and the polarising Bentley EXP 9F SUV first seen in March at the 2012 Geneva motor show where he told CarAdvice: “I’m sure people will like it, [but] people will [also] find it controversial in certain areas. And that’s a reason why the vehicle has already been a success.”


  • Exar Kun

    Well they needed someone to fix that monstrosity of an SUV!

  • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

    I hope the first thing that Donckerwolke says is “what is that hideous thing… that EXP 9F. 
    Throw the it in the bin.” 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=737660467 Kit Ho

    Is it wrong if I think the EXP 9F looks alright?

    • Wxthree

      I think it looks ok too, kinda reminds me of a early seventies Jeep Cherokee.

      • Exar Kun

        Needs more wood panelling.

      • Simon

        That would be fine if it was a 70’s Jeep… however its a modern Bentley concept. As a Bentley it looks attrocious….should be wearing a Bedford badge!

  • Bryan

    What a ridiculous idea!  I dare say that if any Bentley owners need to go off road, they will probably just take one of their Range Rover instead.

  • Hung Low

    Designed by Homer Simpson!

  • Captain Nemo®™

    This is what happens when you let the work experience guys from Skoda’s design studio visit Bentley. 

  • Zaccy16

    Its not the ugliest thing ive seen but its definitely not good looking

    • Zaccy16

      The ssangyong Stavic is worse!

  • Poison_Eagle

    Clean sheet of paper. Otherwise I hope Bentleys existing customers vote with their feet. That concept thing is fucking horrible. Does anyone remember the Range Rover/ Bentley things the Sultan of Brunei has? That would be a better template, but updated. And not designed on crack like the EXP 9F .

  • Daniel

    I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again, I just don’t understand why everyone thinks this car is so ugly. It’s not beautiful, but how exactly is it ugly? I think it looks good, it’s got powerful rear wheel arches, an elevated bonnet and it looks like a Bentley. It’s actually a really clean design. The one thing they could change would be the little bits of grill either side of the main grill, they do look too busy, but other than that I really don’t understand how it’s ugly. You might not like it and that’s okay, but people are talking about it like it’s the first Cayenne all over again. I think their biggest mistake was releasing the concept in pale blue. I’m not sure if this car suits it. However the main point is that Bentley make big confronting cars with a lot of presence; frankly, an SUV body style is perfect for that brief. I look forward to seeing the final version, but in the mean time I don’t see why people are so critical about a pretty well executed and clean looking design. 

    • Zaccy16

      Yeah i agree, it would look better in black i reckon

  • john

    I have a feeling that the very people (me included) who thinks this car looks hideous could’nt afford one anyway. Because it can’t be mistaken for anything other than a bentley, means people with wealth will buy these in droves IMO!

  • Birty_B

    I think a different set of headlight would change the look of the car for the better. The four big holes in the front of the car do absolutely nothing for it. 

  • GregR

    I still struggle with the fact that comments made can sometimes be so seemingly vicious. It is after all a vehicle not an ideology or political statement.
    I am in accord with Kit Ho and Daniel. It is immediately apparent that this is a Bentley, moreover it is not a sedan or a coupe it is unashamedly an SUV. My wallet is not big enough but, if money were no object, I guess I might pick this before a Cayenne or even a Range Rover. It is most unlike any other design and for that it gets full marks from me. I lament the fact that these days so many of the cars available are virtually identical in design and I laud individuality.
    Come on guys – get off the high horse and if you don’t like it , don’t knock it.