The three-sided rotating dial display is more complex than you think.
There's really nothing else quite like it. That's why some 70 percent of customers, whether they're buying a Bentley Continental GT or a Bentayga, opt for Bentley's three-sided Rotating Display. And why not? They can select three unique screens: a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen; three analog gauges showing outside air temperature, a chronometer, and even a compass (nothing like nostalgia); and a solid piece of classy-looking wood veneer available in eight different colors in either a single or dual finish.
All told, the system took three years to develop from initial concept to production. A team of both designers and engineers were involved in order to make the final product engage with a simple push of a button and without any flaws.
More precisely, the display system is constructed from 153 individual parts and has an innovative mechanism. Bentley even has a patent pending on the system that allows alignment of each to a +/0.3mm tolerance.
To give you an idea of the level of precision required, that mechanism consists of 40 moving components, such as custom rotational and linear gearbox drive units paired to highly refined motors controlled by its own electronic control unit. Being able to maintain both the rotation and tight clearances required three unique but linked motions. The first motion retracts the unit into the dashboard in order for there to be enough clearance for the second stage rotation.
Another impressive feat is the fact the system is self-teaching. Basically, the ECU is capable of not only learning the mechanism's physical extents when deployed in each position but also uses "intelligent speed control" to vary the motors' speed. This allows adjustment for variances in mechanical friction and battery voltages. There's even a pair of fans in the mechanism to keep the touchscreen cool regardless of outside temperatures. That large infotainment system includes navigation, media, and smartphone connectivity.
"Not only will this feature be a talking piece in the future, but the veneer fascias will also appear timeless when customers and collectors proudly display their vehicle at Pebble Beach or Villa d'Este 50 years from now," said the firm's interior technical manager, Dave Rook.