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Bentley uncovers dramatic GT concept

Stunning EXP 100 GT emerges as ‘physical embodiment of the future Bentley brand’

11 Jul 2019

BENTLEY Motors has uncovered a dramatic new take on its future after 100 years in business with the striking, sculptural and hugely imposing EXP 100 GT presented at its headquarters in Crewe, England, overnight.


Measuring 5.8 metres long and almost 2.4 metres wide, yet remaining under two tonnes with a 1900kg kerb weight, this demonstrative GT from the hallowed British marque is described by the manufacturer as “a physical embodiment of the future Bentley brand” – with the timeframe set down as “the world of 2035”.


Its sheer size, extroverted yet familiar styling and uncompromising opulence make it clear that Bentley is banking on buyers at the top end of the market refusing to migrate to smaller and less conspicuous vehicles in what will surely be an even more environmentally conscious – and perhaps divisive – global community in the decade after next.


At the same time, the super-luxury car-maker also describes this as a “benchmark for sustainable luxury mobility” and is following the lead of rivals such as Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin’s reborn Lagonda – both of which have committed to electric vehicles, with the latter returning to market in 2022 as an all-electric luxury marque – by ensuring the GT concept uses a zero-emissions powertrain.


Underpinned by an unspecified all-new EV platform and keeping the kilos down with a body that is made from lightweight aluminium and carbon-fibre, the EXP 100 GT has emerged with an all-electric powertrain that, while short on detail, is a serious statement of intent with four electric motors that can produce a combined maximum torque of 1500Nm and send the vehicle from 0-100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds, Bentley claims, on its way to a top speed of 300km/h.


Dubbed the ‘Next Generation Traction Drive’, the electric powertrain uses a hi-tech torque vectoring system to distribute the combined output to all four wheels, “applying 50 per cent increased power and 35 per cent less mass for more effective cornering”.


The manufacturer, which has already committed to offering a hybrid variant in every model line by 2023, says that the rapid rate of advancement in battery technology means the system powering the quad-motor layout will offer five times the energy density currently available by 2035, allowing the vehicle to be charged to 80 per cent capacity in only 15 minutes.


A driving range of up to 700km is proffered, while charging takes place automatically via the Bentley Personal Assistant – a fully integrated artificial intelligence (AI) system that provides another example of where the British car-maker is heading as the doors open on its second century.


The EXP 100 GT has a high level of autonomous driving capacity, too, but the “emotionally intelligent” AI system is arguably the most intriguing aspect of the concept, demonstrating Bentley’s desire for technology to pervade the driving experience in ways traditional owners could never have imagined.


Bentley says the system, which is controllable via screens in both the front and rear compartment, is designed to monitor external conditions as well as occupants’ mood and behaviour – tracking eye and head movements, blood pressure, and so on – and in turn tailors the driving experience with features based on their wellbeing and comfort.


So when the road deteriorates, the weather changes or the light conditions suddenly alter, the car, which already understands what the driver and up to three other occupants favour, will respond accordingly with the help of systems like ‘active aero wheels’ that “dynamically adjust to deliver efficiency or maximum performance feel” and intelligent Pirelli tyres that adapt their contact patches based on weather conditions or driver demand.


The configurable cabin also has adaptable biometric seating that responds to temperature, passenger position and environmental conditions and automatically changes the level of seat support and can make other adjustments on the run.


Using hand gestures, occupants can select individual modes with the AI system – Enhance (drawing in light, sound and smells from outside as if this was a cabriolet), Cocoon (creating a private cabin experience with opaque glass and heightened air purification), Capture (recording experiences from inside and outside the car), Re-Live (replaying highlights of the drive) and Customise (combining elements of every mode that can be individually selected).


The AI system will even act as tour guide and/or schoolmaster, monitoring children, for example, who are staring out at clouds and then automatically providing content inside the vehicle that explains what they are seeing.


Traditional themes in terms of cabin fit-out are similarly challenged in this concept with what Bentley describes as “sustainable innovation” via “an intelligently curated collection of materials” including 5000-year-old copper-infused river wood, 100 per cent organic leather-like textile from wine-making, British-farmed wool carpets and embroidered cotton interior surfaces.


The exterior paintwork, dubbed Compass, is also said to be made from recycled rice husks.


As we have seen before on Bentley EXP concepts, there is every reason to believe that many of the ideas expressed in this GT are heading towards production in some form and that the century-old luxury marque will succeed in satisfying the demands of its rich clientele in the modern world.


As shown here, the brand’s heritage will also guide its future, with the sleek and muscular exterior – complete with doors that are two metres wide and pivot outwards and upwards (to almost three metres) for easy access – pointing to its future design direction but, as the car-maker is quick to point out, remains “instantly recognisable as a Bentley”.


Historical reference points include the “R-Type Continental haunch at the rear, the round headlights that overlap the grille in a nod to the famous Bentley Blower and a long graceful body” – all in an overall result that slots neatly into this age.



In unveiling the concept, Bentley chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark described it as “a modern and definitive grand tourer designed to demonstrate that the future of luxury mobility is as inspirational and aspirational as the last 100 years”.


“Bentley has, and will continue to enhance and enrich every single journey and the lives of every single person who travels in, or has the honour to be a part of creating our extraordinary products,” he said.


Design director Stefan Sielaff added that the “EXP 100 GT represents the kind of cars we want to make in the future”.


“Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take,” he said.

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