At the 2015 Geneva auto show, Bentley wowed audiences with the beautiful British Racing Green EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. Over the next two years, we spotted the concept's influence on the design of the next Continental GT, while also studying the potential of an electric Bentley model.
With the new EXP 12 Speed 6e concept, unveiled on Tuesday at the 2017 Geneva auto show, Bentley covers both of those angles.
Just as the EXP 10 Speed 6 previewed the Conti GT hardtop, the EXP 12 Speed 6e gives us a look at what the eventual convertible variant will look like, and just like 2015's concept we like what we're seeing. If anything, the concept car's handsome exterior translates even better to a roofless model. It feels less like an Aston Martin—a common critique of the EXP 10 Speed 6—and more like a traditional Bentley luxobarge.
Part of what made the EXP 10 and now the EXP 12 so nice is Bentley's work in the cabin. Bisecting the interior with a strong combination of center stack and tunnel is a positive decision in our eyes. It gives these vehicles a more aggressive, sporting look to them, and that's before we look at the latest model's U-shaped steering wheel. Along with the odd tiller, we're less certain about the EXP 12's red-and-cream interior color scheme than we are about the overall design.
Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept, 2017 Geneva auto show
Rather than just teasing the look of the next Continental GT Convertible, the EXP 12 Speed 6e also teases something much more controversial—an all-electric Bentley. The German-owned British brand went out of its way in the press release to explain that this all-electric is here just to “gauge public and customer feedback to shape [its] future luxury strategy.”
That's why there's no charge port, for example. Instead, Bentley says the EXP 12 will use inductive charging, arguably the holy grail of electric vehicles. Other powertrain details are absent.
Instead of fanciful concepts, Bentley claims its eventual electrification strategy “includes the introduction of PHEV models across the Bentley model range over the next few years, starting with the Bentayga in 2018.” The company didn't hint at when the tech could come to an EXP-inspired Continental GT, but we know it will happen eventually.
For more from the Geneva auto show, head to our dedicated hub.