The Dakar Rally is one of the most spectacular and popular rallies in the world. The annual off-road endurance race, which historically started in Paris and finished in Dakar (hence the name), moved to South America in 2009 and it has remained there. As it is broadcasted in over 190 different countries, the Dakar Rally provides an excellent test case and promotional tool for manufacturers. Perhaps a little bit surprising is the news that Bentley might enter the 2013 edition of Dakar.
According to CAR Magazine the British manufacturer of luxury cars is currently attempting to buy the Volkwagen Touaregs which were recently sold by VW Motorsport to private teams. Bentley will use the successful Touaregs which won Dakar three times, as a base for a modified version of the EXP 9 F Concept which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show back in March.
Bentley’s SUV wasn’t received very well by the public, so the Brits are looking for ways to boost the image of the car. And what better way than entering a grueling rally with a car based on a proven winner? The technology used to make the Touareg a real off roader is exactly what Bentley needs, because the head of R&D, Rolf Frech, admitted the EXP 9 F Concept will not be as good off-road as its main rival the Range Rover.
At this stage further details are scarce, any information regarding the powertrain isn’t known. The latest VW Touareg which entered Dakar was powered by a 2.5 liter twin-turbo diesel with an output of almost 300 horsepower. But the engine range for the Bentley EXP 9 F is still subject of debate. Petrol powered engines like a 6.0 liter twin-turbo W12, 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8, a V6 Hybrid and a diesel-powered V8 are all being considered. Most likely Bentley will use the engines of the Volkwagen Touaregs as these have proven to be reliable and successful.