As first suggested back in 2013, Bentley looks like it could be about to produce a serious two-seat sports car to rival products from Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren, if Geneva’s curiously named EXP 10 Speed 6 concept is any indication.
The car has been revealed to gauge more precisely what customers want from a Bentley sports car, beginning with styling undertaken by new chief of design, Luc Donkerwolke. The concept sports plenty of ovoid shapes, referencing aircraft wings and fuselages. It also utilises 3D printing technology, so steel and copper sit alongside each other harmoniously.
Company chairman, Wolfgang Dürheimer, said the new model, arriving within three years, would be smaller than but priced similarly to the Continental GT. He said that it will offer “thrilling, driver-oriented performance, complete with…luxury and effortlessness.” Likely as not it would be underpinned by VW’s MSB luxury-sports flexible platform.
While the concept car used a hybrid powertrain, production cars are likely to be powered by the Audisourced 373kW twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, as used in other Bentleys. However, higherpowered engines could be employed to “define a new segment benchmark” for performance and top speed. And four-wheel drive is likely to be an integral design feature. The styling includes a new interpretation of the classic Bentley front grille and headlight arrangement, while the wide rear, long bonnet and short front overhang all shout performance.
New production techniques are showcased in the concept, such as a quilted look in the headlamp coverings and wood trim inside, mirroring that of the leather upholstery.
A 12-inch curved touchscreen also highlights a new dashboard layout and high-tech digital infotainment system. Enhancing practicality, there is space behind the seats for a four-piece luggage set. Bentley’s production facilities have recently been upgraded, in preparation for increased production numbers. Dürheimer suggested a possible new model is a saloon that will sit between the Continental Flying Spur and the Mulsanne. Moreover, a smaller SUV may eventuate to complement the larger Bentayga, which goes on sale in 2016.
Bentley intends to double 2013 annual sales to 20,000 by 2020, on the back of the new SUV and a more agile two-seater sportscar like this one.