Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the pre-eminent designers and builders of ultra-luxury touring cars, have been woefully behind in the race to alternative-energy drivetrains. But they’re catching up with necessity.
Rolls-Royce is investing heavily in fossil-fuel alternative tech, and just this week announced an initiative to potentially bring a hybrid electric ecosystem to Brandenburg, Germany.
Bentley, too, seems to be on the cusp. As of now, the symbol of aristocratic British excess and gilded conservatism has only one hybrid on the road. But they’ve made a lot of noise about a Bentley EV in the past few years, beginning the narrative with the EXP 10 Speed 6 that was unveiled in 2015. And, about a month ago, Bentley laid the groundwork for a comprehensive transition away from that pesky, doomed ICE, and toward the EV that will, in another ten years, be the standard for roadgoing vehicles. On that account, they announced an ambitious plan: by 2023, the company will offer hybrid versions of every production model; by 2025, a fully electric passenger car.
This week, to strengthen their fledgling eco-brand narrative, they announced a new EXP. This concept car, the company announced, is a look at a Bentley of 2035. They call this vision of things to come the EXP 100 GT.
Natch, the new, green Bentley is consecrated with that other green—the Almighty Dollar—and looks fast, luxurious, and beautiful in that particularly rarified manner that only a hundred years of exquisite coachbuilding can produce.
And that century of design is included in the EXP 100 GT. In its greater form, it comes off like a full- circle model, a progressive-minded homage, a summing-up and a looking ahead. Four motors propel the sleek, nearly 20’-long beastie to a 0-60 launch of 2.5 seconds (subject to improvement in the next 16 years), and the 435-mile range will be accomplished with a 15-minute, 80% charge time.
The interiors are envisioned as minimalist, with line and shape inspired by the natural world. But, Bentley didn’t forget those little touches that make an extravagant British tourer: embellishments include trim from 5,000 year-old wood, and plentiful crystal. As for the color palette, it is quite pleasing.
As interesting as this latest EXP concept looks, we’re curious about the 2025 production EV. If it winds up resembling the lovely EXP 12 Speed 6e, we’ll be very excited indeed.