Bentley has revealed the crowning glory of its centenary celebrations, a sensational new concept car called the EXP 100 GT. It's said to represent Bentley's vision of the ultimate luxury grand tourer of 2035. Unsurprisingly, that future is powered by electricity and can be fully autonomous, but this vehicle appears to be as much about exploring the use of new materials, focusing on sustainability, while staying true to the Bentley heritage of craftsmanship.
Before we get to that, it is worth mentioning the EXP 100 GT's powertrain, even if it is, we presume, the work of fiction. Bentley calls it the Next Generation Traction Drive, which apparently means 50 per cent more power and 35 per cent less weight. All-in, this huge concept is said to weigh just 1,900kg. That's despite the presence of enough battery capacity to cover 700 kilometres between charges. Bentley says the batteries have five times the 'conventional' energy density, yet they can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in just 15 minutes. Let's hope Bentley knows something the rest of us don't about the near future of battery capability...
Those batteries power four electric motors with a maximum torque output of 1,500Nm. Bentley quotes an entirely believable 2.5 seconds for 0-100km/h, while the EXP 100 GT's top speed is 300km/h. Encouragingly, Bentley expects some owners to still want to drive their cars in 2035, so there's torque vectoring to assist with high-speed cornering and the option to drive or let the car autonomously drive whenever the owner decides. The Active Aero Wheels adapt their shape depending on requirements and even the tyres have the ability to alter their contact patch.
Artificial intelligence for your comfort
Choose autonomous driving and the Biometric Seating (which adapts its shape according to the seat occupant and driving mode) swivels the driver's seat around so they can comfortably engage with the two passengers (the car seats three in total). Something called the Bentley Personal Assistant manages the experience in the cabin and there's also artificial intelligence employed to keep the car's occupants comfortable, entertained and happy. This is controlled via an illuminated Cumbria Crystal interface in the middle of the car.
Bentley plays with 'air and sound curation' in this concept, too, with four modes called Enhance, Cocoon, Capture and Re-Live. Enhance is designed to bring the feeling of the outside world into the cabin without needing to use a convertible roof, in terms of light, sound and smells. Cocoon is the opposite, creating a private space with opaque glass and using the on-board air purification system. Capture is best defined as recording everything inside and outside the car for future browsing, while Re-Live seems to be replaying those recordings. The driver can choose elements of each of these modes for a customised setting, too.
We're more interested in the material selection Bentley used for the three-seat cabin, as it mixes a focus on sustainability with extravagant luxury. The standout item is what's called Copper Infused Riverwood, which is described as sustainable, though it comes from trees that have been preserved for 5,000 years in peat bogs, lakes and rivers. Scotland's Bridge of Weir leather features, but it's alongside a new leather substitute created using the by-product of winemaking. Wool and cotton are also used.
Extravagant exterior design
Accessing the cabin is a moment of theatre, too, as the two-metre-long doors pivot outwards and upwards, taking part of the roof for easy entry. There's plenty more to gawp at on the outside of the concept. Its paint pigment is made using a usually harmful by-product of the rice industry for starters and Bentley likens the treatment of the huge front lights and grille to that of the Bentley Blower, but the EXP 100 GT's is rather more high-tech. It features an illuminated matrix that shimmers as the owner approaches the car, the light continuing through the daring new Bentley mascot atop the bonnet and along the central spine of the car. Aluminium and copper are used to highlight aspects of the exterior design, while the dramatically sloping rear end and muscular haunches are said to be inspired by the Bentley R-Type Continental. The back of the car is punctuated by a high-tech OLED screen that complements the static LED rear lights.
Today's the day
Bentley revealed the EXP 100 GT today, on July 10, 2019, to coincide with the company's 100th year in existence.