Bentley Embraces the Evolution
Car manufacturers worldwide are constantly being pressured – by the industry as well as by customers – to re-examine traditional engine ranges. In response to this, Bentley brought the all-electric EXP 12 Speed 6e concept to the Geneva Motor Show. The car is a drop-top which shows Bentley’s vision of an electrified future and what it thinks a battery-powered luxury touring car will be.
Designed in both concept and execution to transform the electric vehicle (EV) sector, this model fuses the unrivalled handcraftsmanship for which Bentley is famous with electric performance, magnificent design, and the range of a true grand tourer. The EXP 12 Speed 6e is a statement of Bentley’s intention to create the world’s first luxury electric sports car – and an overt invitation for the public to provide feedback on Bentley’s vision for the road ahead. Electrically Fast Bentley views the EXP 12 Speed 6e as an entirely new format for both urban and open-road driving, as electric power provides an opportunity to exceed the performance limits of cars built on the conventional combustion engine. From a standing start, electric motors deliver phenomenal levels of torque, which translates into phenomenal acceleration.
The Speed 6e is essentially a drop-top variant of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept shown two years ago, and would be built with the capacity to drive from London to Paris or Milan to Monaco on a single charge. Charging would be done via a plug-in port hidden behind the rear license plate, or via wireless induction. The Exterior Look The exterior body shell is a sleek expression of sports car design, inspired by contemporary architecture, aircraft fuselages, and the geometry of the natural world.
A natural evolution of Bentley’s design DNA, the car takes the marque’s trademark muscular haunch and powerline to exhilarating new heights. The short front overhang, long bonnet, and wide, planted rear aspect all contribute to an unmistakable sense of speed, while the iconic matrix grille features an exquisite smoked stainless steel finish.
Contrasting copper highlights are subtle acknowledgement of the car’s status as a fully electric vehicle, and an illuminated “6” logo can be seen through the grille.
Throughout the car, form coexists with function to support a more sustainable future. The twin bonnet scoops double as heat sinks, keeping the temperature of the car’s batteries and drivetrain down without the need for additional cooling technology. The Inside Scoop With this model, Bentley is making the statement that its future is one of innovative materials and inventive technology.
The Speed 6e’s entire central tunnel is hewn from a solid piece of glass, encompassing a high-definition OLED curved display. All principle on-board controls are accessible from here, including navigation, entertainment, and climate control.
Mirroring the exterior of the car, copper details provide visual interest throughout the cabin, adorning the gear selector and the Bentley Dynamic Drive dial control. Even the veneer panels inside the doors feature copper accents, drawing the eye to the handcrafted, natural wood finish.
The car manufacturer realises that tomorrow’s luxury car customers will expect intuitive technology and traditional craftsmanship to be integrated seamlessly – a demand that has dictated much of the Speed 6e’s design. The wing mirrors dispense with the usual reflective glass in favour of cameras, feeding visual input directly to the dash – another example of Bentley’s future design direction. A New Way of Thinking and Driving The EXP 12 Speed 6e is about much more than a car. The concept represents a first step on a journey that will change the way today’s drivers think about mobility and what it can be. From rapid charging and fast acceleration to a world of connected lifestyle services – where on-board concierge software responds to complex voice input – the world of luxury transport is set to change immeasurably. For Bentley’s design team, this means looking beyond the horizon, to a day when drivers become passengers and car ownership gives way to transport as a service. The car of the future will be more luxurious, more sustainable, and more autonomous than ever before.