The mounting pressure of tightening fuel economy and emissions standards is causing even the most extravagant luxury brands toÂ re-evaluateÂ their bias toward hulking internal combustion engines. No less subject to the laws of the land than any other automaker, Bentley returned to theÂ Geneva International Motor Show with an electric convertible version of its 2015 Speed 6 concept, dubbedÂ â€” and this is a mouthfulÂ â€” 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 aÂ 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 ownÂ ghastly visage. While I understand that the headlights are signature Bentley and theÂ EXP 10 Speed 6 possesses a nearly identicalÂ face, it just isn’t working for me in this instance.Â The rest of the car, however, is irrefutably gorgeousÂ â€” 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 builtÂ to gauge the public interest in an all-electric luxury tourer and potentially shape Bentleyâ€™s future luxury strategy.
TheÂ EXP 10 Speed 6 is rumored to be progressing slowly towardÂ production with a host of engines options, including a hybridized powertrain. There was even speculation ofÂ 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 youâ€™d expect from a true Bentley. This concept enables us to engage with luxury customers and gather feedback on our approach,”Â Bentley Motors CEOÂ Wolfgang DÃ¼rheimer 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 tasteÂ 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 fromÂ London to ParisÂ â€” which is just under 300 miles.
[Image: Bentley Motors]