Bentley wants to build it, but it needs the green light from the big boys at the Volkswagen Group.
Bentley has been talking about the possibility of introducing a smaller two-seater sports car for more than two years, ever since the lovely EXP 10 Speed 6 was revealed. Last month, the folks from Crewe chopped off the concept’s roof to create the equally nice EXP 12 Speed 6e featuring an all-electric powertrain. In an interview with Motoring, Bentley’s head of technical operations of the Mulliner bespoke division, Uday Senapati, revealed there’s “definitely” customer demand for a model along the lines of those two concepts.
However, the situation is not that simple.
Although Bentley wants to build the car, there are concerns within the Volkswagen Group that such a model would step on the Audi R8’s toes. As such, the Speed 6 still hasn’t received the stamp of approval from Wolfsburg, even though Senapati has admitted a lot of the development work has already been completed. In addition, he also said the model has a solid business case and that being a part of a large automotive conglomerate allows Bentley to find the necessary underpinnings without much of a hassle. He went on to specify an electric powertrain is a must for such a model, as hinted by the more recent concept from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.
Electrification might be the solution to differentiate the two-seater Bentley coupe/cabrio duo from the R8, especially since Audi has dropped the R8 E-tron. Senapati revealed Bentley has already conducted a significant amount of R&D work on a battery-electric setup, so it could be put to good use in the new smaller sports car.
Until Bentley (or should we say the VW Group?) makes up its mind about putting those two concepts into production, the company’s agenda is quite full. The all-new Continental GT is coming later this year and spy shots have shown testing is already underway for the next-generation Flying Spur. A go-faster Bentayga Speed is also in the works, while a smaller SUV might join the lineup at some point in the future.