The Bentley EXP 10 SPEED 6: British racing beauty or trying too hard?

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Bentley revealed the EXP 10 SPEED 6 concept at the Geneva Motor Show March 2015 as a concept two-seater sports car and potential future model. Part of the reason for concept cars such as this is to gauge the consumer’s response, so let’s make a judgement shall we?

The Bentley Continental GT has always been a car which I personally regard as sleek and beautiful. It’s wrapped in luxury yet has the power and performance to hang out with the racers and makes a quite striking GT3, I might add. You might say it’s the wealthy duke, who lifts weights regularly yet eats any delectable desserts he finds.

Comparatively, the EXP 10 SPEED 6 should fit in as the duke who works out daily, and follows a strict diet.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said the EXP 10 SPEED 6, “offers thrilling, driver-oriented performance, complete with trademark modern Bentley luxury and effortlessness,” and “this is not just a new sports car concept – but the potential Bentley sports car – a bold vision for a brand with a bold future.

Bearing in mind this is a concept, and concepts are typically a bit overdone and more aggressively styled than the end product, I must say – and I say it with love, it seems to me they are trying a bit too hard.

The looks are, for me, a bit confused. The face of the car grins at you like some odd four eyed cartoon character, the side profile is oddly similar to the Jaguar F-type, and the rear end seems looks as though it has the weight of a dozen Continental’s pushing on it. I must say though, that is being rather critical and there certainly is some aspects I do like. In a sense it is indeed a slimmed down Continental GT, though I wish the ends resembled it more, and I do like the added aggression to the appearance.

The interior is wrapped in leather and the doors feature solid straight-grain cherry wood, with 3D quilting milled into them. It is the usual Bentley luxury we all know with a tighter, sportier feel, minus the rear seats… and that, is where the real problem begins.

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I’ve long dreamed of a true, modern Bentley sports car. One which represents all the performance and racing technology Bentley is capable of, without a sacrifice for comfort. In the world of premium sports cars, the word “luxury” can nearly be considered synonymous with “heavy.” Soft seats, soft ride, premium sound systems and climate control all add weight, and a lot of it.

The Continental GT already provides the combination of speed and relative performance with luxury, if Bentley wishes to do a sports car, it should be a proper sports car. Forget the soft seats, wooden door panels and flashy trim. Let’s see a true British, purist sports car.


Originally published on March 18, 2015

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