The car is ready to go, Bentley just needs the Germans to give it the green light.
Bentley has been more than just hinting that it wants to build a two-door sports car. In 2015, it arrived in Geneva with the stunning EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept, and at the same show this year the British carmaker unveiled its all-electric concept, the EXP 12 Speed 6e. If you’re at a loss as to why Bentley is taking so long to make up its mind whether to green light the new model, given how much enthusiasm there is for the car, then motoring.au seems to have uncovered the answer.
Speaking with head of technical operations at Bentley’s bespoke division Mulliner, Uday Senapati, the Australian publication learned that “From within Bentley, definitely yes [there’s a huge desire and momentum for the project]. But we’re part of a big group and it has to work with the rest of the group … Because we are a portfolio of brands, we can’t be overtly competing against each other… if we can create a niche segment for it, then yes [we can do it]." Sporty models within the VW Group that a two-door Bentley sports car would compete with include the Audi R8, Porsche 911 GT3, and to a lesser extent the Lamborghini Huracan.
In terms of how far along the project is, Mulliner’s technical chief revealed that “the car itself we like, and we’ve got a business case. We’ve done a lot of development work.” And there’s no shortage of platforms that Bentley could use in building a new coupe. “That’s the best part of being part of the [Volkswagen] Group. This group has probably got the best technology currently. And they’re pushing the right kind of things. With the autonomy we’ve got, being based in the UK and unlike many other car companies in the segment, we’ve got our own R&D center and our own design center in England, and we do everything from there. So we’ve got the best of both worlds, all the tools and techniques and ability to it.”
Bentley could distinguish itself from its corporate siblings by utilizing an electric powertrain in the two-seater. The latest concept revealed in Geneva was more to gauge customer interest in such a project than anything else. And while no powertrain details were revealed about the sporty EV, we know that Bentley is looking at electrification with plug-in variants of the Bentayga and the next-generation Continental GT already confirmed. Senapti also confirmed that “a lot of research and development” has already been done on a battery-electric propulsion system. All that’s left to decide is whether it will debut on the new two-seat sports car or something else.