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Bentley Celebrates 100 Years With an Electric Super Coupe

Bentley Celebrates 100 Years With an Electric Super Coupe
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Bentley celebrates its 100th anniversary this month, and it’s been quite a century. From racing glory and “the world’s fastest lorries” at LeMans to what amounted to a rebadged Rolls-Royce in the 1970s and on to a turbocharged renaissance in 1980s, Bentley has had its share of ups and downs. Through it all, however, the Flying B remained a symbol of conspicuous wealth– but Bentleys will have to be more than expensive to survive another hundred years, and Volkswagen (Bentley’s parent company) knows it. That’s why the car that Bentley built to celebrate its first century and carry it into its second is what it is. Meet the Bentley EXP 100 GT, the most sustainable Bentley ever.

I know, I know– that sounds a bit absurd on the surface of it. But, consider: Bentley began toying with ethanol and biofuels in the earliest days after the housing bubble burst in a bid to stay relevant, and its E85-fueled, turbocharged Continental coupes remain among of the fastest cars ever built. So, like, a sustainable Bentley isn’t totally totally crazy.

That said, the fully autonomous (of course) EXP 100 GT delivers the sustainable goods. Starting under the hood, the new Bentley concept is propelled by a massively powerful electric power train with a 400 mile range. Inside, 5,000 year old, copper-infused river wood adorns the interior, along with a 100% organic, leather-like textile made with old wine-making techniques. Even the floor mats are British-farmed wool with embroidered cotton interior surfaces all adding up to create, what Bentley calls, “a sustainable future luxury”.

Heck, even the paint is sourced from 100% sustainable rice husks! “The Bentley EXP 100 GT represents the kind of cars we want to make in the future,” explains Stefan Sielaff, Director of Design. “Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take.”

Check out the official Bentley photo gallery and massive, 2500-word press release, below, to find out more about what the future of Bentley might hold. Once you’re done digesting that, let us know what you think about how much of this sustainable tech will make it to production in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

 

BENTLEY REIMAGINES THE FUTURE OF GRAND TOURING WITH THE EXTRAORDINARY BENTLEY EXP 100 GT

Crewe — Bentley Motors celebrates its 100th birthday today by unveiling its vision of the future of luxury mobility at The Home of Bentley in Crewe. The Bentley EXP 100 GT is a physical embodiment of the future Bentley brand, reimagining Grand Touring for the future.

Beyond mere mobility, the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car will enhance the owner’s Grand Touring experience, whether driving or being driven autonomously.

Bentley EXP 100 GT is borne from pure Bentley DNA and inspired by the company’s deep understanding of the desires of its intelligent, forward-thinking customers. Beautifully styled, it embraces Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a means to reassert the car as a place for creating, experiencing and capturing extraordinary human experiences and emotions.

Designed from the inside out and taking advantage of an all-electric platform, Bentley EXP 100 GT reimagines the Grand Tourer for the world of 2035. This is a world of shared luxury experiences where passenger and driver enjoy equal status in their enjoyment of their extraordinary journeys. The cars’ presence and impressive exterior proportions are reminiscent of many of Bentley’s historic Grand Tourers but take these luxury hallmarks into the future. The result is a future vision commensurate with Bentley’s status as the world’s most sought after luxury brand.

The meticulously sculpted cabin is luxuriously tactile, helping to create a harmonious environment designed around the well-being of its passengers. This is seamlessly integrated with the unique AI, known as the Bentley Personal Assistant, which helps the car’s occupants enhance and curate their Grand Tour experiences.

Sustainable innovation is also at the heart of the Bentley EXP 100 GT experience. The car is engineered to create a greater awareness of the world outside, with an intelligently-curated collection of materials including 5,000 year old Copper Infused Riverwood; Compass exterior paint made from recycled rice husks; 100% organic leather-like textile from wine making; British Farmed Wool carpets and embroidered cotton interior surfaces which all create sustainable future luxury, adding to the enhanced reality of the grand touring car of the future.

Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Chairman and CEO, said: “Today, on our Centenary, we demonstrate our vision of the future of our Marque, with the Bentley EXP 100 GT – a modern and definitive Grand Tourer designed to demonstrate that the future of luxury mobility is as inspirational and aspirational as the last 100 years.

Bentley has, and will continue to enhance and enrich every single journey and the lives of every single person who travels in, or has the honor to be a part of creating our extraordinary products.”

Stefan Sielaff, Director of Design said: “The Bentley EXP 100 GT represents the kind of cars we want to make in the future. Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take.”

An inspiring blend of performance, technology and craftsmanship, the Bentley EXP 100 GT is a beautiful, immersive and emotionally intelligent experience.

Luxury Beyond Mobility

The Bentley EXP 100 GT redefines the car as a space for extraordinary and emotional human experiences, ones that enrich and inspire. Bentley’s vision imagines the journeys of the future, drawing on 100 years of expertise in luxury design and craftsmanship that are currently being celebrated around the world in the company’s Centenary year.

The Bentley EXP 100 GT’s sleek and muscular exterior explores the brand’s future design direction. It incorporates the company’s unmistakable DNA, remaining instantly recognizable as a Bentley. The famous R-Type Continental haunch at the rear, the round headlights that overlap the grille in a nod to the famous Bentley Blower and a long graceful body hint at famous models of yesteryear.

However, this Bentley journeys into the future. Made from lightweight aluminum and carbon fibre, the Bentley EXP 100 GT measures 5.8 meters long and almost 2.4 meters wide, and makes a statement of true luxury. This is further enhanced by decorative features crafted from copper and aluminum, both natural sustainable materials, which evoke founder W.O Bentley’s choice of materials to create the alloy for his famous BR1 Aero engine piston that played a major role in securing the air theatre in World War 1.

The driver and passenger doors are two meters wide and pivot outwards and upwards for effortless access. Fully open, they rise to almost three meters, adding to the sense of occasion on arrival.

The new exterior paint color Compass is created using a special Colorstream pigment that reflects a beautiful spectrum of autumnal colors and is both sustainable and environmentally friendly. The pigment is synthetically made using rice husk ash, a harmful bi-product of the rice industry, remanufactured for the Bentley EXP 100 GT to reduce the amount that ends up in landfill waste.

The Bentley EXP 100 GT’s expressive exterior lighting is both dynamic and dramatic. A focal point is the smart, illuminated matrix grille and Flying B mascot which come to life as one approaches the car, light playing across the grille, through the mascot and along the bonnet central spine of the car and into the cabin itself. The car literally comes alive.

At the rear, a ‘horseshoe’ section of the boot is a 3D OLED screen on which lighting effects can blend in with the rear lamps.

Inside a luxurious cockpit, Bentley craftspeople have taken hand-craftsmanship of materials to an as yet unseen level, setting the new benchmark for luxury interiors.

The finest natural materials such as wood, leather and glass are seamlessly blended with light, creating a unique interior environment that boosts the physical and mental well-being of passengers.

Exquisite materials graduate and flow throughout the handcrafted cabin of the Bentley EXP 100 GT. For example, the embroidery pattern of the sustainable textiles and leather complement the pattern of the grain in the naturally-felled wood veneer. These traditional, tactile materials reconnect passengers with the authentic, natural world around them.

Imperceptible joins between different materials such as wood, leather and wool allow an overall design motif to flow across all these surfaces. The materials are brought together by design, a seamless blend of patterns and forms, textures and colors. Glass flows into metal, into wood and into leather.

Light is core to life and in the Bentley EXP 100 GT it is harvested from the surrounding environment via an innovative glass roof embedded with prisms that collect light and transfer it into the cabin using fibre optics. The use of harvested natural light and synthesized light offers a new approach to enhancing wellness on board.

The Bentley Personal Assistant is a centre piece of the main console and visualized using illuminated crystal from Cumbria, England. Ambient lighting can also be modified to recreate a specific mood or exterior environment, while additional effects are delivered through projection mapping onto trim panels, such as door pads.

Intelligent, Adaptable Biometric Seating can be configured in three different ways, depending on whether the owner is driving or using autonomous mode. Biometric sensors monitor temperature, passenger position and environmental conditions to deliver the ultimate in comfort, whatever the conditions.

Bentley Personal Assistant pre-empts passenger needs and can even maximize comfort based on its knowledge of its owner. For example, reactive seat surfaces respond to passenger position during driving, automatically offering more support when the need is sensed.

In addition, biometrics are embedded throughout the Bentley EXP 100 GT to track eye and head movements, even blood pressure. It represents the future of customized, in-car comfort far beyond any seating experienced in a modern-day car.

An intelligent future for Grand Touring

Enhancing the occupants experience of their extraordinary journey in the Bentley EXP 100 GT is the Bentley Personal Assistant AI. This advanced, intelligent system defines the Grand Tourer of the future as it delivers a highly personalized experience to the passenger based on five distinct modes with individual characteristics: Enhance, Cocoon, Capture, Re-Live and Customize. Interaction with the AI is made through hand gestures made to the front or rear Cumbria Crystal interfaces that intuitively interpret the commands.

Enhance harvests inputs from the outside environment, such as light, sound, smell and air quality, offering a holistic grand tour, and a feeling of open top motoring from under the glass canopy.

Cocoon creates a protective space, including air purification and glass areas that turn opaque for privacy; while Capture records experiences from both inside and outside the car which become part of your car’s unique history.

Re-Live replays highlights of your Grand Tour, while Customise combines elements of all the different modes and are individually selected by the driver or passenger.

Sustainable Innovation – The Future of Bentley

Bentley believes its approach to innovation is created through a balance: Preservation of the world and the self should be at the forefront, while purposeful and intuitive innovation remains essentially linked to sustainability.

The Bentley EXP 100 GT features air and sound curation that promotes self-care and well-being in the car. These create a physiological, health-enhancing environment for passengers, promoting increased mindfulness in the cabin.

For example, Capture mode on Bentley Personal Assistant brings the external environment into the cabin, creating an open-top driving experience without taking the roof down. It also cocoons passengers – blocking and filtering air pollution in cities.

The Bentley EXP 100 GT has passive and active air intakes in the front grille, cooling the drivetrain and batteries that drive the car’s powerful electric motors. Unwanted air is channelled out of the car at the rear to aid aerodynamics.

The Air Purification System is located in the boot space to purify air before it is supplied into the cabin, with deployable air vents on the rear passenger shelf and static vents on the front passenger panel. The air vents undulate giving the appearance that the car is breathing and alive. Meanwhile, CO2 levels in the cabin are constantly monitored to maintain air quality.

As well as capturing exterior scents, Bentley has developed a unique scent for the Bentley EXP 100 GT. Created in collaboration with ethically-aware fragrance house 12.29, it builds on the rich heritage of Bentley, incorporating sandalwood and fresh moss.

The Bentley EXP 100 GT also puts passengers in control of how they disconnect and reflect, enhancing mindfulness by allowing occupants to live in the present. As screen-time become ever more present, these disconnecting, relaxing experiences have gained luxury status.

Rotary switches fashioned from copper and aluminum add tactility in a digital world.

The in-car displays enhance the grand tour experience using augmented reality, or can provide a relaxed cocoon on demand. All displays use a simple, intuitive interface that includes transparent OLED information displays in the doors, automatically darkening glass, and a front entertainment screen for displaying films, live video and other media when the Bentley EXP 100 GT is in autonomous driving mode.

Making a material difference to Sustainable Innovation

Bentley has collaborated with carefully selected industry experts to provide exceptional materials in the Bentley EXP 100 GT. All use sustainable and innovative techniques for customers who are environmentally-conscious and ethical in their brand choice.

Among them is the remarkable Copper Infused Riverwood, a sustainable wood from naturally fallen trees that has been preserved for 5,000 years in peat bogs, lakes and rivers. The Riverwood features in the cabin and has been sourced from The Fenland Black Oak Project, a British organization set up to preserve this material for future generations.

Hand and Lock is the London-based embroidery company that employs exquisite, traditional techniques that date back to 1767 and are used on Royal and Military Dress uniforms. Their techniques are primarily used on the door panels of the Bentley EXP 100 GT, creating a seamless integration between different materials and a beautiful contemporary embroidery pattern.

Bridge of Weir Leather of Scotland works with specifically selected, locally sourced hides for Bentley to create a soft, natural leather enhanced by its environment. With the ultimate Super Natural finish, this will be Bentley’s benchmark for future luxury alternative materials.

Finally, in an exclusive collaboration, Bentley has used the by-products of wine-making to create the future of luxury eco-materials, creating a leather-like seating material which is 100 per cent bio-based.

Performance & Technology – Reimagining The Grand Tour

The Bentley EXP 100 GT is an extraordinary step on the road towards a carbon-free future.

Sustainable and intelligent, a battery electric power train, with intelligent power and charge management, will ensure that the Bentley EXP 100 GT is as powerful and exciting as its conventional predecessors.

Next Generation Traction Drive will enable maximum control via torque vectoring, applying 50 per cent increased power and 35 per cent less mass for more effective cornering. The battery system will power four motors that offer a 0-100 km (0-60 mph) time of less than 2.5 seconds, a top speed of 300 kph (186 mph) and maximum torque of 1,500 Nm.

Future battery technology will offer five times the conventional energy density, and charging the Bentley EXP 100 GT to 80 per cent of capacity will take only 15 minutes. Charging is automatically taken care of by the Bentley Personal Assistant. Weight will remain at a remarkably trim 1,900 kg and a range of 700 km (435 miles) will be possible.

To celebrate the drive, the Bentley EXP 100 GT is optionally autonomous. It manages the driving experience based on the external environment and passenger well-being. This might include maximizing an exhilarating self-drive across mountain roads, or disengaging from a stressful, inner-city commute.

Bentley Personal Assistant can curate personal driving experiences, offering points of information along a route, journey suggestions, or available luxury experiences nearby.

Key to this are a range of features based on passenger well-being and comfort. These include Active Aero Wheels that dynamically adjust to deliver efficiency or maximum performance feel; Intelligent Pirelli Tyres that adapt their contact patches based on weather conditions or driver demand; Adaptable Biometric Seating that adapts to the driver mode, or swivels rearward with the steering wheel retracted away in autonomous mode.

The use of artificial intelligence with the Bentley Personal Assistant, combined with expert engineering in the Bentley EXP 100 GT, has redefined the future of Grand Touring. AI manifests itself in the cabin as a ‘feeling’ light and is controlled through gestures and touch.

An example of gesture control can be demonstrated by a child looking out of the Bentley EXP 100 GT cabin at clouds, then pulling down content inside the vehicle through a gesture that explains what they are seeing to them. AI thus creates a joint, meaningful learning experience that can also be shared.

AI is controlled via an illuminated Cumbria Crystal centre piece and control centre, set in three layers. Cumbria Crystal, the last producer of completely hand-blown and hand-cut crystal in England.

A cartridge system in the centre of the Bentley EXP 100 GT delivers luxury items and services. The main features are a Purified Water Decanter and Crystal Glasses; a Cartridge Delivery System that can deliver items from an under the bonnet storage area into the cabin itself; and World Class Services, that could receive items requested by the car’s AI and delivered from luxury service partners.

Centenary Celebrations

July 10, 2019 marks Bentley’s 100th year – an extraordinary milestone achieved by only a few companies. A year-long series of special activities have been taking place, with celebrations at events around the world. They showcase Bentley’s motoring evolution over the last 100 years, highlighting its global success today and the exciting future of innovation ahead.

Source | Images: Bentley.

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Jo Borrás
Jo has been working in the automotive industry since 1997, and has been a contributor to various automotive and technology blogs for more than a decade. You can usually find him talking about Swedish metal at his Volvo fansite, out cruising on two wheels, or chasing his kids around Oak Park, IL.