It’s hard to argue that the Bentley Continental GT has been anything but a major success for the British ultra-luxury brand. The car proved wildly popular even though it shared a platform with the Volkswagen Phaeton and spawned several variations and special editions. It isn’t 2003 anymore, though, and the Bentley lineup could use some new life. Enter the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6, a surprise entry into the Geneva Motor Show.
While the name is certainly a mouthful, the design of the EXP 10 Speed 6 is stunning. The Continental GT always had attractive features and proportions, but it never quite made it all the way to being truly attractive. You could pass one on the street and you may point out that you just saw a Bentley, but this latest concept is the kind of attractive that is guaranteed to stop traffic.
Many of the design cues from the Continental GT are still there, which means the EXP 10 Speed 6 won’t be mistaken for anything other than a Bentley. But unlike the Continental GT, the new concept is smaller and only seats two. The smaller size and two-seat layout gave the designers the ability to sculpt a more athletic shape while still maintaining the muscular Bentley look that the Continental GT popularized for the brand.
Viewed from the front, the most obvious change is the headlights. The EXP 10 Speed 6 still has quad headlights like the Continental GT, but these are more stylized, helping give the car a less chunky look. The large inner headlights look incredible up close, showing an attention to detail that you only get from ultra-luxury brands. The iconic Bentley grille has also been updated and streamlined, with a “6″ sitting right behind it, perhaps signaling a six-cylinder engine under the long hood.
The most striking angle may be from the back. The sloped roof line is flanked by flared rear fenders that emphasize the fact that the EXP 10 Speed 6 is intended to be a sports car concept, not a grand tourer. Redesigned oval taillights and a sculpted rear end add to the look, while oval quad exhaust pipes mirror the look of the taillights. Overall, it’s a much more aggressive design than the Continental GT.
The Bentley Continental GT might not have looked aggressive, but it’s still always been fairly handsome. Even with an update in 2011, the interior has slowly become more and more dated. Ready to show the world that they can still compete, Bentley’s designers gave the EXP 10 Speed 6 a world-class interior. Believe it or not, the interior may even be more impressive than the exterior.
Inside, it’s an absolutely gorgeous marriage of traditional and modern design. Every surface that isn’t covered in leather is either wood, aluminum, copper, or steel. The quilted seats match the quilted doors, which are milled into a solid piece of cherry wood. Even the large gearshift is finished in aluminum, leather, and cherry wood. Above the shifter is the center console, which is dominated by a curved, modern touchscreen. Like the center console, the gauge cluster offers a digital display, although the tachometer is still analogue.
The result is an interior that is looks luxurious, modern, and inviting without forgetting the tradition and history of Bentley design. Paired with a beautiful design, the interior of the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 helps create an incredibly desirable car that we can only hope leads to a production version. Bentley has hinted strongly that this concept could eventually go into production, but it’s been silent about any potential timeline.
With Volkswagen AG’s goal to become the largest automaker in the world, Bentley could use another model to drive sales, and a sports car could be just the ticket. The EXP 10 Speed 6 is the kind of car that you want to drive just to see how good it really is, and that kind of desirability could lead to a lot of sales. The production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 could potentially be even more of a sales success than the Continental GT. If so, that could lead to even more cool and desirable Bentleys in the future. Until an official production announcement is made, though, we’ll just have to wait and see.
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