By on March 7, 2017

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

The mounting pressure of tightening fuel economy and emissions standards is causing even the most extravagant luxury brands to re-evaluate their bias toward hulking internal combustion engines. No less subject to the laws of the land than any other automaker, Bentley returned to the Geneva International Motor Show with an electric convertible version of its 2015 Speed 6 concept, dubbed — and this is a mouthful — the EXP 12 Speed 6e.

While there is no accounting for taste, the flipped and wandering 1994 Toyota Celica headlamps aren’t my cup of tea. To be frank, it’s a gaping fish-eyed mess from the front. It’s as if the car saw its own lavish interior and couldn’t believe something so glorious could be associated with its own ghastly visage. While I understand that the headlights are signature Bentley and the EXP 10 Speed 6 possesses a nearly identical face, it just isn’t working for me in this instance. The rest of the car, however, is irrefutably gorgeous — especially that aforementioned interior.

Not that you shouldn’t take a moment to bask, but the EXP 12 concept wasn’t designed to show off its interior. It was built to gauge the public interest in an all-electric luxury tourer and potentially shape Bentley’s future luxury strategy.

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

The EXP 10 Speed 6 is rumored to be progressing slowly toward production with a host of engines options, including a hybridized powertrain. There was even speculation of a fully electric mill during Bentley’s launch of the Bentayga SUV over a year ago. The Speed 6e is the automaker taking one final headcount of potential EV supporters before deciding the date that it becomes a reality.

“The EXP 12 Speed 6e is a concept to show that Bentley is defining electric motoring in the luxury sector, with the appropriate technology, high quality materials and refinement levels you’d expect from a true Bentley. This concept enables us to engage with luxury customers and gather feedback on our approach,” Bentley Motors CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer said in a statement. “Bentley is committed to offering an electric model in its future portfolio and we are interested to receive feedback on this concept.”

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

Beyond giving us a taste of what an eventual convertible variant of the Continental GT successor might look like, Bentley isn’t showing its hand with the Speed 6e. While the vintage Speed Sixes were named for their massive 6.5-liter inline-six engines, there has been no word on what lurks beneath the hood of the modern-day concepts. However, the company’s vision includes inductive charging instead of a traditional plug-in port and a stop-free trip from London to Paris — which is just under 300 miles.

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

[Image: Bentley Motors]

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14 Comments on “Geneva 2017: Bentley Motors Seeks EV Approval With EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept...”

  • avatar

    Looks like a cross between the last Mitsubishi Eclipse, the new Fiat 124, and the infamous Corvette-based 789.

    • 0 avatar

      But the Fiat wears it far better. Of the three (it, this and the Fiat’s Miata donor), the Fiat is the sexy one, from the outside styling anyway.

  • avatar

    There needs to be a very small gasoline powered generator that could be popped into the trunk of a car like this, which could be used to recharge the batteries in the case of there not being a charging station available when needed. A quick 10 or 15 minutes and you’re on your way.
    If nothing else, it would reduce “range anxiety” enough for someone to purchase an electric car.
    And the Bentley is beautiful, but I would not enjoy that horribly raked windshield, or the rear view mirror so close to my right ear.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      With Tesla selling 75k EVs annually worldwide, I’m not sure why you’d suggest this.

    • 0 avatar

      Rather than a generator (which would take forever), you can always find a 120v outlet somewhere. I live in eastern Massachusetts and there are hundreds of level 2s and several level 3s. If you’re on the road and have the right adapters and a portable level 2, you can grab a charge at an RV park with 240v hookups.

      In reality, range anxiety is extremely rare for me. Even with my limited 100-mile range EV, You just plan your trips and there isn’t an issue. Even if something unexpected happens, you just hit the nearest quick charger and you’re good to go. Once a 130-mile trip turned into a 256-mile trip (the furthest I’ve driven in a car in one day in 15 years). No problem finding a quick charger where we were heading and we were fine. In fact, the car charged quicker than we could eat lunch.

      Given that Bentley is part of VW, it will have 800v DC charging that will allow 200+ miles in 10 minutes or so if I remember correctly. It’s also likely to have 300+ miles range. With that kind of range, you’ll rarely need public charging anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        Lol, try finding a 120v outlet in the middle of nowhere after a wrong turn on a cross country trip. What, are you going to go up to some shack 40 miles from any remotely populated area, and ask if you can plug your EV in? Not everyone lives in a city with abundant EV charging stations.

        I like the idea of an on board auxiliary generator as backup. It would give some “on the fence” potential EV-buyer the peace of mind that they will not be getting stuck with a dead car with no way to charge it as they sit a million miles from nowhere.
        Make it a dealer installed option like a block heater or something, and not something that kicks in automatically as in the Chevy Volt (although I do think it’s system is quite innovative).

        @SCE, its entirely possible that Tesla could sell a great many more of they offered a backup generator for those who need reassurance that they won’t be stranded up §h¡ts creek without a paddle.

        I think Ford should build a high range fully electric C-Max, and while they’re at it, a B-Max too as a BEV or a 1.0L ICE EcoBoost/manual niche car, somewhat a competitor to the Chevy Bolt and the Teala Model 3 Vaporware.

        • 0 avatar

          In fairness to Bentley – people who live in big cities are probably 95% of their target market. This isn’t a mass market vehicle. If you can afford this, range anxiety just isn’t an issue.

  • avatar

    Who is hitting Bentley’s with the ugly stick. I would take either a CTS or Continental over this just because of the why this Bentley looks.

  • avatar

    Nice, a Bentley Orochi.

  • avatar

    Toothless Tarsier?

  • avatar

    Cars like this show the ludicrous ineffective nature of government regulations. Yes, Bentley with their mid teens mpg sound like destroyers of the planet, but that’s before you consider that thanks to their low volumes and generally low mileage accrual, you aren’t really saving that much gas by lower or even eliminating their consumption. Want to make a substantial difference? Focus on mainstream high volume low mpg vehicles Get the couple million new pickups SUVs and crossovers that are guzzling the fuel at 15-20 mpg averages up by even 5 mpg and you’ll dramatically cut the total fuel consumption of this nation. The Bentley’s Rollers Lambos and Ferraris aren’t even a rounding error.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Why have they done the interior in burnished black cherry leather? That’s nasty. And gold quilted door inserts?

    We going bowling later?

  • avatar

    Funny – and spot-on – comment about the Celica headlights. The other day I saw one for the first time in years and… time has not been kind to a nose that was always ugly. My dad’s first sports car was an ’82 Supra, so I always had a soft spot for Celiacs, but when that one came out… woof. The rest of the car is quite nice, but my god, those peepers.

  • avatar

    It’s a “looks like an Aston erh, what shall we do with the headlights” design. Not good.

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