Bentley has just given the world a glimpse of its alternative fuel-powered future with the EXP 100 GT electric concept, a car the company hopes will persuade affluent buyers that the terms “green” and “luxury” can indeed be friends. The 5.8m-long and 2.4m-wide stunner of a coupe has been packed with all sorts of technologies and over-the-top features designed to entice customers into embracing the idea of swapping their current gas-guzzlers for an electric shed in the years to come. And it also hints at the way upcoming Bentleys will look. It’s a no-holds-barred orgy of sustainable opulence created to make you stop in your tracks and stare at it. It is, in other words, the perfect automobile to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary this year.
Let’s start with the outside, where this yacht-sized cruiser rolls onto the stage in a new color called Compass. Not only does it look quite pretty, but the pigment in it is made using rice husk ash, a waste material created during rice production. Making paint out of it means less of the stuff ends up in landfill, according to Bentley. Then there’s the huge matrix grille that lights up and—together with the headlights and the illuminated ‘B’ on the hood—creates a real sense of occasion when the car is woken up. At the rear, 3D OLED screens acting as lighting elements make for a similar spectacle, while prisms embedded into the huge panoramic glass roof capture light and send it into the cabin via fiber optics. Because clearly, just using a plain old glass roof is way too common an idea for the posh Brits.
Then there’s the cabin, which is accessed through huge, 2m-wide doors that swing outward and upward until they reach almost 3m in height. Not great for underground car parks, but boy, would this give you a grand entrance at the opera! The seats are covered in a new eco-friendly material derived from winemaking byproducts, and they provide biometric, adaptable seating that, according to the firm, will make you feel totally comfortable whatever the conditions. Once you’re totally at ease, you can marvel at the wood veneers surrounding you that were made from 5,000-year-old copper-infused wood, or check out the illuminated crystal in the center console that houses the Bentley Personal Assistant.
This digital butler is fitted with artificial intelligence and can do anything from creating certain moods within the cabin—including a cocoon mode that aims to shield you from the outside world—to managing the charging of the batteries and pointing out things of interest while you drive along. That is if you want to drive yourself, of course. The EXP 100 GT comes with an autonomous mode that relegates anyone onboard to the status of passengers, albeit very pampered ones. Not having to keep your eves on the road means you can sit back and breathe in the specially designed scent that is being pumped into the interior of the car, but not before any air molecules have passed through a purification system to make them worthy of being inside this temple of luxury.
The EXP 100 GT is a full-on EV that packs enough power to move this 1,900kg collection of aluminum, carbon fiber and batteries with some considerable haste. According to Bentley, it will do 0-100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds, and storm to a top speed of 300km/h with the four motors generating up to 1,500Nm of torque in the process. The range is given as a pretty optimistic 700km per charge, with the power pack being able to recharge to 80% in just 15 minutes. The battery section of the press release, however, sounds more like wishful thinking than actual tech already fitted to the car, so take the above with a grain of salt.
No matter how far it can really go right now, the Bentley EXP 100 GT electric concept is a gorgeous machine that delights the onlooker with its sweeping lines and majestic appearance. If the high-end automaker’s actual production EVs will look only half as good, then we’ll be in for quite a treat when they hit the road in the future.