To celebrate its 100th birthday, Bentley decided to go all out with a concept car, named the EXP 100 GT, a two scissor-doored, autonomous and all-electric futuristic grand tourer.
“As the name suggests, it’s a celebration of our birthday,” says the head of exterior design, JP Gregory. “As with all birthdays it’s a change to celebrate where you are now and how you got there. This is really a car that honours our past but what it is, is a beacon for us in the future, like setting out our stall.”
“It’s not about mobility, it’s about what happens between A and B. We’re a brand that makes grand tourers – we always have and we want to continue,” he added.
“The move to electrification and autonomous driving is changing the fundamentals of the automobile and society’s relationship with it,” says Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark at the concept’s unveiling, “some would predict that the result of all this change is homogenous, utilitarian and on-demand. We at Bentley have a very different view.”
Though it definitely looks like a Bentley, the design team looked to the future and designed the car from the ground up. The company says the car is not supposed to look retro but does include traditional Bentley features such as a fast fly line, a proportionate break-up of the side, a deep body, muscular haunches and a tapered rear. The vehicle measures 5.8m long from end-to-end and though it’s a two-door, Gregory says it has as much room inside as a Flying Spur.
Other notable features include a cut glass-effect front grille, with headlights that have been integrated into the molded front end. Also, a variety of LEDs merge, pulsating from below the car. “In autonomous mode it’s a communication device, the moment you go into driving mode the focus shifts to the main beam,” Gregory says.
The EXP 100 GT is fitted with a wide glass canopy that begins at the edge of the windscreen, named the ‘chandelier’ given its light refracting and fundamental properties, which can be viewed from above. The air ducts in the D pillars are finished in recycled copper and the use of multi-material wheels gives the vehicle added aerodynamic potential.
The two scissor doors measure 2.5m, which is longer than a Renault Twingo, and are intended to be showy. The car can be a four-seater with two outsized cream-colored armchairs in the front, though in autonomous mode, the steering wheel can be folded away, and the front seats will slide forward with two seats in the rear bulkhead that fold out.
The materials used include wood, leather and metal, though the company says the material strategy has been very deliberate. The interior tub, for instance, is covered in a sustainable cotton blend from Gainsborough Silk, while Bridge of Weir includes leather with limited chemical interference. Also, the leather is simply a by-product of the meat industry, therefore, the cows used were not raised just for their hides. Also, a vegan leather, made from waste pulp from the wine industry, is used in the rear seats.
Bentley says the EXP 100 GT will go to 62mph in 2.5 seconds and onto 186mph with a capacity of 435 miles of range and an 80 per cent charge in just 15 minutes.