Geneva 2017: Bentley Motors Seeks EV Approval With EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
geneva 2017 bentley motors seeks ev approval with exp 12 speed 6e concept

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.

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.”

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.

[Image: Bentley Motors]

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  • JRoth JRoth on Mar 08, 2017

    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.

  • Voyager Voyager on Mar 09, 2017

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

  • Sgeffe The 1990-1991 Honda Accord in Hampshire Green Pearl.
  • Cprescott I'm sure the Kia/Hyundai haters will find something snide to say about the brands but this once again proves the high and mighty Honduh is not immune to issues. Take that and tailgate with it, Honduh drivers!
  • Bullnuke Chief Transition Officer, eh? And the term "Lean Manufacturing" being spoken... Is that the sound of the headsman's axe being ground sharp that I hear in the background? Brings back memories of the late '00s at my old OEM coatings plant.
  • BEPLA At the right price, would be a great EV conversion candidate.
  • BEPLA In other news: It costs more to eat out than to eat at home.