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EXP 12 Speed 6

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

THE FUTURE’S ELECTRIC

EXP 12 Speed 6

Revealed to the world at Geneva 2017, the EXP 12 Speed 6e is Bentley’s vision of a high performance open top sports car powered exclusively by electricity. As with all concept cars there’s a degree of showmanship involved in the design, but it’s a deeply appealing car and unmistakably a Bentley. If this is what the future looks like, where do we sign?

The name is a bit of a mouthful, but EXP 12 Speed 6e is the 12th experimental Bentley (the line started in 1919 with EXP 1) and a Speed 6, which means it could slot into a future Bentley range below the current Continental GT family. That lower case ‘e’ in 6e signifies electric power; this is the first time that Bentley has shown an electric concept vehicle.

In design it’s closely related to the EXP 10 Speed Six coupé that Bentley unveiled at Geneva in 2015. Powertrain aside, the biggest difference between the two is that the EXP 12 is a convertible, and to many eyes its pure lines are even more appealing. A straightforward two seater, the design is clean and dramatic with short front and rear overhangs, giving it a taut and muscular look. Deep bonnet scoops channel help cool the battery and electric motor, while the scalloped side profile leads to the signature Bentley ‘haunch’ over the rear wheel.

Inside, Bentley’s designers have given free rein to their imagination.  Handmade glass sections on the steering wheel control media, communications, sat nav and driving modes. The steering wheel is an aircraft-style yoke, and the centre console is a single piece of curved glass housing a high-definition OLED screen. Referencing the electric powertrain, there are copper elements in the door panels and around the drive selector, while the signature Bentley mesh grille also features copper accents.  One neat touch we hope makes it to production; a playful ‘rocketship’ motif on the performance boost button.

Other than saying the EXP 12 Speed 6e would be capable of driving from London to Paris (or Monaco to Milan) in a single charge Bentley has released no information about its concept car’s powertrain. That’s sensible; electric power is evolving at such a fast pace that any specification would be out of date by the time a production model was released. But electric power makes a great deal of sense for Bentley; its founder, W.O. was famously obsessed with torque and with refinement. An electric motor produces 100% of maximum torque at zero revs and converts power to forward motion at a level of efficiency the internal combustion engine can never attain. Electric motors can deliver high performance with ease, but the challenge is storing the power; batteries are heavier and less energy-dense than a tankful of unleaded. This picture is changing all the time, and Bentley’s EXP 12 concept does at least envisage rapid induction charging, with no need to mess around with cables and three-pin plugs.

As with any concept car, the aim is to garner feedback from potential customers. So while you can’t order your electric Bentley yet, if you’d like to do so one day, let our sales team know and we’ll pass the word to Crewe. 

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If you’re looking to buy a Bentley then H.R. Owen is the place to do it. We operate the world’s oldest Bentley retailer, Jack Barclay Bentley in London, which was founded by one of the original Bentley Boys and retains much of its original charm. Along with our three other locations in the south of England, no other retailer can offer you the breadth of skills, the choice or the history that we can, and it’s a privilege for us to be able to share it all with you. Whether you’re new to the brand or you’ve been buying Bentleys for years, we look forward to joining you on your journey.