Bentley’s 100th Birthday Present To Itself Is The EXP 100 GT Concept, A Glimpse Into Its Own Future
How do you celebrate 100 years of carmaking? Sure, you can look back at past achievements but the really important bit is… the future! And so on the day of its 100th birthday, 10 July 2019, Bentley have revealed the EXP 100 GT concept car.
The idea of it is not necessarily to say that this is how the next Bentley will look—so you don’t need to shout at the screen that the doors won’t open in your garage—but to show off how Bentley’s interpretation of luxury and grand touring might look in 15 to 20 years’ time. Bentley do say, though, that the technologies and sustainability that EXP 100 GT demonstrate could easily make it into future models.
We know it’s not helpful saying this but the pictures don’t show the sheer scale of the car. When you see it grille-to-face, the first thought is “Wow this is huge!” It’s 189in (5.8m) long and 94in (2.4m) wide, and those doors are a massive 80in (2m) long and pivot outwards and upwards, to a height of 120in (3m) when fully open. The front grille is a crazy illuminated latticework, with headlights in a matching style, and the Flying B bonnet mascot lights up as the car is approached. The bodywork is aluminium and carbon fibre, so the car weighs 1900kg, which considering its size is quite impressive.
The lines along the front fenders and doors are super-sharp, but fade away neatly to the end of each door, which then exaggerates the massive rear haunches, a Bentley styling trademark for decades—think Continental R of the 1950s and the more recent Continental GTs. That horseshoe-shaped section of the rear is made up of a 3D OLED screen that produces lighting effects to blend in with the rear lights.
Really you should start with the interior and work your way out, though, because that’s what it’s all about. The seating can be moved around for two, three or four seats, the glass roof is fitted with prisms that collect light and transmit it into the cabin via fibre optics, and biometrics are embedded throughout the interior to monitor eye and head movements as well as blood pressure. The seats sense their occupants’ positions and react automatically to adjust the support for maximum support. The aircon vents gently move back and forwards to give the impression that the car is ‘breathing’. Why? It’s all about well-being, the ability to relax in the car.
So it won’t surprise you that EXP 100 GT can be set up to drive autonomously, or to be driven. It will probably surprise you even less to find that it’s propelled by an electric battery powertrain, though the prediction is for a battery and fuel cell combination. The batteries are expected to give five times more power for their size and weight than current EV batteries give, allowing a 435-mile range and just 15 minutes to charge to 80% capacity. Four motors are used to power the car to a top speed of 186mph and a 0-60mph of 2.5 seconds, with a maximum torque of 1500Nm.
Much of the detailing could make it to future Bentleys. There’s a big emphasis on sustainability, so all those copper trim parts are made from recycled copper wiring, the paint pigment is created from recycled rice husk ash, a bi-product of the rice industry, and some of the interior materials look like leather but come from a bi-product of winemaking (also some of the materials look like leather because they are leather, by the way). The wood on the dashboard is 5000 year-old Riverwood, basically pulled out of the ground having been “naturally felled” (it fell over), and it’s embedded with more of that recycled copper.
Regardless of the 5000-year-old wood, the tech is seriously futuristic. In the centre console is the Bentley Personal Assistant, which uses artificial intelligence to pre-empt passenger needs, maximise comfort and even create pre-set environments, one of which emulates open-top motoring while still using the air-purifying unit in the trunk. It’s all rather sci-fi… but it could be the future.
Images courtesy of Bentley Motors