Geneva 2017: Bentley Motors Seeks EV Approval With EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

The mounting pressure of tightening fuel economy and emissions standards is causing even the most extravagant luxury brands to re-evaluate their bias toward hulking internal combustion engines. No less subject to the laws of the land than any other automaker, Bentley returned to the Geneva International Motor Show with an electric convertible version of its 2015 Speed 6 concept, dubbed — and this is a mouthful — 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 a 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 own ghastly visage. While I understand that the headlights are signature Bentley and the EXP 10 Speed 6 possesses a nearly identical face, it just isn’t working for me in this instance. The rest of the car, however, is irrefutably gorgeous — 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 built to gauge the public interest in an all-electric luxury tourer and potentially shape Bentley’s future luxury strategy.

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

The EXP 10 Speed 6 is rumored to be progressing slowly toward production with a host of engines options, including a hybridized powertrain. There was even speculation of 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 you’d expect from a true Bentley. This concept enables us to engage with luxury customers and gather feedback on our approach,” Bentley Motors CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer 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.”

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

Beyond giving us a taste 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 from London to Paris — which is just under 300 miles.

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

[Image: Bentley Motors]