Bentley, the master of luxury motoring, has just turned 100. But rather than incoherently shout at a table before falling asleep in front of Bargain Hunt at 2pm on a Tuesday, Bentley has released upon the world a new concept car, and man alive, it is a looker. And look at it you will, for a long time. Mainly because from bumper to bumper the EXP 100 GT is longer than the horizon itself. But this is Bentley after all – it was never going to release a small hatchback, was it?
See? It’s very, very long. But it’s also elegant. And more than that, the EXP 100 GT is a machine that shows where Bentley is headed and what it is shooting for in the future. For example, sustainability is a huge element of this project. For example, there is responsibly sourced Bridge of Weir leather as expected, but there is also a leather-like material that is made via the bi-products of wine-making. We don’t know what that means. But it’s 100 per-cent bio-based, and the light is on and burning brightly for the masses when it comes to things like that.
The Compass paint is, and we’re not making this up, made from recycled rice husks. Apparently the pigment is synthetically made using rice husk ash, which is a harmful bi-product of the rice industry. Clever.
The interior of the EXP 100 GT is nothing short of a work of art. Bentley suggests that, and we quote, “this is a world of shared luxury experiences where passenger and driver enjoy equal status in their enjoyment of their extraordinary journeys.” Sounds nice. And so it should, given that the innards are awash with illuminated Cumbrian crystal, British farmed wool carpets and copper infused Riverwood. The seats look like they have been lifted straight out of a modern sculpture exhibit, while the dash is a delicate floating entity free from the conventional dials we’re used to. Apparently, the EXP 100 GT will also use biometric technology to monitor the mood and well-being of the occupants, which is all a bit science fiction if you ask us, but still very clever.
As for the powertrain, it is as you would expect, electric. Bentley claims it has a range of 700km, but given that it’s a concept car, it could say it has a range of 1,000,000km and we’d have to believe it. Next Generation Traction Drive will enable maximum control via torque vectoring, applying 50 per cent increased power and 35 per cent less mass for more effective cornering. The battery system will power four motors that offer a 0-100 km (0-60 mph) time of less than 2.5 seconds, a top speed of 300 kph (186 mph) and maximum torque of 1,500 Nm.
Future battery technology will offer five times the conventional energy density, and charging the Bentley EXP 100 GT to 80 per-cent of capacity will take only 15 minutes. Charging is automatically taken care of by the Bentley Personal Assistant. Weight will remain at a remarkably trim 1,900 kg and a range of 700 km (435 miles) will be possible. Impressive for a car that’s nearly six metres long.
Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Chairman and CEO, said: “Today, on our Centenary, we demonstrate our vision of the future of our Marque, with the Bentley EXP 100 GT – 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.”
Stefan Sielaff, Director of Design said: “The Bentley 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.”
This vision of Bentley in 2035 is all very clever, and we can’t help but be impressed by the environmental considerations that are central to the creation of this tremendous machine. However, there is no escaping the fact that this is just a concept, and as such, we’ll be doubtful of seeing anything like this in the future. That said, concept cars allow manufacturers to show ideas, and more importantly, intent, and in the case of Bentley, the future is looking very impressive indeed. While we might not see this exact car, we will almost certainly see some of the design ideas and sustainable manufacturing practices, and that’s very good news indeed. In the meantime, and if you can’t wait for 2035, you can find your perfect Bentley here.