Look out Aston Martin, Bentley has got its sights on you. Revealed at a special Volkswagen-Audi Group event ahead of this year’s Geneva Motor Show is perhaps Bentley’s most beautiful car in the last century. The EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept, Bentley claims, is purely a design exercise aimed to stir the interest of audiences. But what you’re looking at here could be a soon-to-be produced rival to the likes of the Aston Martin Vanquish, Ferrari F12, and Mercedes SL63 AMG.
The design of the EXP 10 is a modern dramatisation of the traditional Bentley elements, I mean it’s painted in metallic British Racing Green for crying out loud. The new headlights and grille design for example could be translated onto future Bentley models. However, as the EXP 10 is supposed to be “the pinnacle two-seater supercar” with all the GT capabilities of a Bentley, the sleek aerodynamic shape might not. Bentley says the EXP 10 was inspired by aircraft fuselages and wings. The long bonnet, short overhangs, and sloped rear scream supercar. Overall though I’m a fan of this design. It captures the essence of Bentleys of old with the right amount of modern lines. It’s still classically Bentley but less Downton Abbey and more gentleman thug in a downtown alley.
That said the details are on a whole new level. Bentley have used 3D metal printing for the mesh grille, door handles, exhaust, and side vents. Because of this technology Bentley have been able to give the EXP 10 some fantastic details that would’ve been impossible before. The grille, which was traditionally a flat piece of latticework, now was intricate levels of depth. Let’s hope that stays on the production car.
Inside, it’s very much Bentley. The now trademark dash layout remains but with a modern touch. The most obvious is the massive 12-inch central screen which slopes down, like in the Porsche 918 Spyder. The EXP 10 also features Volkswagen-Audi Group’s new virtual instrument display. Of course you still get all the traditional Bentley materials inside such as cherry wood, copper, and quilted leather. Despite this being billed as a “supercar” there’s still space behind the two seats for a bespoke four-piece luggage set.
Bentley haven’t confirmed the EXP 10 for production but it looks production ready to us. If/when it does go into production it’ll be sold alongside the Continental GT, not below it. If that’s the case then it should cost around $400,000 in New Zealand. It’s expected to use the MSB platform used by Audi and could be powered by a tuned version of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 used in other Bentleys. Expect around 500bhp and a top speed upwards of 320 km/h.
Sales of Bentley have grown immensely in recent years thanks to the Asian and Middle East markets. With concepts such as the EXP 10 doing only good for Bentley’s desirability there’s no doubt they’ll be able to achieve their goal of 20,000 sales by 2020. In New Zealand Bentley sold more in 2014 than rivals Aston Martin, Maserati, and Ferrari. I can only see those numbers rise if the EXP 10 does go on sale. It’ll appeal to traditional Bentley buyers looking for something sportier and to new, younger buyers looking for something fast, luxurious, and god damn beautiful. So very proper.