Bentley Goes Back to the Future

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

By Perry Stern, AutoNXT

Bentley’s Next Century

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

It?s been 100 years since auto importer and entrepreneur Walter Owen Bentley created his eponymous car company, and the famed British marque celebrated its centenary in style this summer at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance. The Concours recognized Bentley?s milestone by making it one of the event?s featured marques, so there were dozens — if not hundreds — of Bentleys, both new and classic, around the Monterey Peninsula during the Monterey Motoring Week. Although Bentley?s 100th anniversay was the primary reason for all the recognition, the automaker also revealed its latest creation. As a testament to W.O.’s objective to build “a fast car, a good car, the best in its class,” Bentley celebrates its centennial with a look to the future while keeping the founder’s original objective in mind with an innovative concept, the EXP 100 GT.

Future of Luxury

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

“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,” said Bentley Chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark. “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,” Hallmark exclaimed.

2035 Grand Tourer

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

The EXP 100 GT is advanced in practically every way, with a high-tech electric powertrain, autonomous driving abilities, futuristic artificial intelligence and a design that reflects a future Bentley. The company sees this concept as the Grand Tourer one could expect in the year 2035. “The Bentley EXP 100 GT represents the kind of cars we want to make in the future,” declared Bentley Director of Design Stefan Sielaff. “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, “ Sielaff effused.

Bentley Presence

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

Bentley engineers built the EXP 100 GT with aluminum and carbon fiber, which keeps the vehicle light — an important point, since this is not a small car. As a proper grand tourer, the EXP 100 GT possesses grand dimensions, measuring almost 20 feet long and close to eight feet wide. To say this car has presence is an understatement.

Coming to Life

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

While the design of the EXP 100 GT is thoroughly modern, styling cues abound that reference Bentley’s rich past. Up front big, round headlights overlap the grille — a look similar to the powerful Blower Bentleys of the 1920s. But the EXP 100 GT has a matrix grille that illuminates as the driver approaches the car, as does the futuristic Flying B hood ornament, giving the impression of the car coming to life.

Unique Rear Lighting

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

Lighting also dominates the view from behind — a section of the boot (trunk) is a 3D OLED screen that allows a range of lighting effects to blend with the rear taillights. The greenhouse narrows at the rear, which further emphasizes large fenders that suggest broad shoulders. The powertrain is fully electric, so no tailpipes for this GT.

The Doors

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

Even though the EXP 100 GT would stand out in any crowd, it attracts even more attention while the doors open — the large panels rotate out and up, ultimately rising almost 10 feet in the air. Bentley designers claim this adds a sense of occasion to the car’s arrival. An apt observation, but the doors might be difficult to open in a typical garage — perhaps garages of the future will be taller.

Light and Sustainability

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

Inside, this stunning Bentley concept blends wood, leather and glass with light for a unique ambience. Much of the light is natural, harvested via an innovative glass roof embedded with prisms that transfer luminescence to the cabin via fiber optics. Light can also be projected in patterns onto trim panels for an artistic effect. Materials throughout represent a sustainable future — something required of a company lasting another 100 years. Bentley uses copper-infused Riverwood sourced from fallen trees that have been preserved for 5,000 years in bogs, lakes and rivers. The seats are trimmed in an organic leatherlike material created from the by-products of wine making. Carpets are woven from British farmed wool.

Biometric Seating

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

Forward-thinking designers of the EXP 100 GT’s interior created a unique occupancy experience, referred to as Biometric seating. The seats rely on sensors that can track eye and head movements; they also monitor temperature, blood pressure, passenger position and exterior conditions and adjust for ultimate comfort. The seats swivel rearward as the steering wheel retracts when the EXP 100 GT converts to autonomous drive mode.

Drive or Be Driven

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience

Bentley designed the EXP 100 GT to be relished by a driver who loves the thrill of carving a mountain road or cruising a curvy coastline. But for those times when the driver chooses to disengage — sitting in traffic, crossing Montana on a long, straight highway — autonomous mode can be employed.


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Autos Magazine: Bentley Goes Back to the Future
Bentley Goes Back to the Future
Celebrating a centenary with a look toward the next 100 years.… The post Bentley Goes Back to the Future appeared first on
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