It won't win any awards for its name, but it might claim a few in a beauty pageant.
A little over two years ago, Bentley arrived in Geneva with the lovely EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. For this year’s Swiss auto show, the Crewe manufacturer has decided to chop off the coupe’s fixed metal roof and come up with a convertible version that goes by the rather uninspiring name of “EXP 12 Speed 6e.” Sadly, this one too is only a concept for now but Bentley says it will use the droptop as a tool to gauge public and customer feedback. In other words, it might make it to the assembly line at some point in the future and hopefully it will bring along the coupe.
Technical details are shrouded in mystery at this point, but for what it’s worth, one of the images showing the lavish cabin shows a 257-mile range on a digital round display installed within the 200mph speedometer.
Both the exterior and interior designs take inspiration from the coupe version and propose a retro-modern look by blending cues from models of yesteryear with a high-tech approach as evidenced by the LED headlights and the OLED touchscreen inside the cabin. The cut-away steering wheel is also a sight to behold, as are the copper elements adorning the gear selector and some of the other areas inside the plush cabin.
The exterior also stands out thanks to the front grille where the “6e” logo lights up in white once the car is turned on. While the coupe had conventional side mirrors, the cabriolet uses cameras with a design taking inspiration from stealth aircraft fuselages, according to Bentley. Recharging the unspecified battery pack can be done by using the charging point concealed behind the rear license plate or wirelessly thanks to the concept’s support for inductive charging.
It remains to be seen whether these two concepts will see the light of production day, but it would be a waste to throw out such sleek designs.
Gallery: Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept
BENTLEY EXP 12 SPEED 6e CONCEPT: THE LUXURY ELECTRIC VEHICLE
- Effortless, exclusive and exhilarating, Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept brings luxury ownership experience to EV sector
- Luxury customer demands met by Bentley levels of craftsmanship and refinement, with electric performance and grand touring capabilities
- Bentley’s vision includes rapid inductive charging and connected on-board concierge services
- EXP 12 Speed 6e concept to gauge public and customer feedback to shape Bentley’s future luxury strategy
- Concept showcases future Bentley exterior and interior design direction
- EXP 12 Speed 6e is on display at the Geneva Motor Show until 19 March
(Geneva, 7 March 2017) Bentley Motors is today sharing its ambition to define the electric luxury segment with the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said:
“The EXP 12 Speed 6e is a concept to show that Bentley is defining electric motoring in the luxury sector, with the appropriate technology, high quality materials and refinement levels you’d expect from a true Bentley. This concept enables us to engage with luxury customers and gather feedback on our approach.
“Bentley is committed to offering an electric model in its future portfolio and we are interested to receive feedback on this concept,” Dürheimer concluded.
The Luxury of Electric: Effortless, Exclusive and Exhilarating
An all-electric Bentley will not compromise the quality, refinement and high performance levels expected of the luxury brand. These renowned Bentley characteristics such as immediate, effortless surge of torque and grand touring range will be combined with new high performance technology such as rapid inductive charging and state-of-the-art on board concierge-style services for an effortless ownership experience.
Bentley’s vision is for customers to benefit from high-speed inductive charging and provide a range sufficient for grand touring requirements. An electric Bentley would, for example, be able to drive between London and Paris or Milan and Monaco on a single charge and the on board experience will be enhanced for both driver and passenger thanks to the integration of state-of-the-art technology.
A fusion of cutting-edge technology and beautiful materials is evident right throughout EXP 12 Speed 6e’s luxuriously appointed cabin, ensuring that the brand’s use of technology is not cold or emotionless. The entire central console, for example, is hewn from a solid piece of elegantly curved glass encompassing a high-definition OLED screen. All of the car’s principle onboard controls are accessible from here, including navigation, entertainment and climate control.
Handmade, cut-glass sections on the steering wheel contain the controls for media, communications, navigation and car set-up. There are also two buttons featured at the top of the cut-away steering wheel, one offering an instant performance boost and the other the ability to limit speed, in urban areas for example.
The passenger, meanwhile, has their own control panel on the front fascia with access to social media, email and entertainment.
Exquisite copper elements around the gear selector, Bentley Dynamic Drive dial and in the door veneer panels are integrated into the cabin to highlight the electric performance potential of the concept’s advanced new powertrain.
The car’s intelligent infotainment system is the central brain to access many real world services using connected-car Apps.
Designing the Future of Luxury
On the outside, the iconic Bentley mesh grille features a complex 3D geometry and smoked finish with copper highlights that identify the Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e as a fully electric vehicle. When the car is running the ‘6e’ logo illuminates in a striking, vibrant white.
The exterior design is an expression of muscular, athletic surfaces inspired by contemporary architecture, the natural world and the aerodynamic shapes of aircraft fuselages.
It represents a natural evolution of Bentley’s design DNA and signifies future design direction, taking the famous powerline and haunch to new levels of drama and tension. When combined with muscular proportions and an athletic stance through the use of a short front overhang, long bonnet, low grille and wide rear, the exterior styling hints at the high-performance potential of the car.
The twin bonnet scoops act as highly effective heat sinks that supply additional cooling to the battery and powertrain.
The wing mirrors – which are cameras rather than traditional reflective glass – are exceptionally sleek and were inspired by the sculptural form of stealth aircraft fuselages.
When rapid inductive charging is not available, EXP 12 Speed 6e can be connected to a mains AC power supply via the auxiliary charging point, subtly concealed behind the rear number plate.
A Commitment to an Electric Future
Bentley believes that the concept will open discussions with luxury car buyers of the future – millennials, members of Generation C and the rising affluent in developing economies - to understand the desired expectations from a future electric luxury car ownership experience.
The luxury brand’s electric car strategy includes the introduction of PHEV models across the Bentley model range over the next few years, starting with the Bentayga in 2018.