Bentley EXP12 Speed 6e concept revealed - Bentley's first electric vehicle

Convertible GT may have futuristic tech but is trimmed as a traditional Bentley should

Bentley has taken the covers of its latest concept at this year’s Geneva motor show. The new convertible GT, called the EXP12 Speed 6e, is the brand’s first ever fully electric vehicle and paves the way for Bentley’s future strategy of adding electric and hybrid drivetrains to its range of vehicles. The first production model to be made into a plug-in hybrid will be the Bentayga in 2018.  

The idea of an electric Bentley isn’t so strange; the power delivery of an electric motor suits the torquey effortless nature that the luxury marque have become known for. However, the short range and long charging time of electric cars don’t suit Bentley’s continent shrinking GT capabilities.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

> Read our review of the Bentley Continental Supersports

Bentley’s solution is that Speed 6e would be able to use high-speed inductive charging to help owners drive the length of France, for example. When not driving on the inductive charging network, the Speed 6e can be charged from an ordinary power supply via a socket hidden behind the rear number plate.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Bentley hasn’t revealed any information on the Speed 6e’s drivetrain and hasn’t even hinted at the car’s potential performance. We’d expect the car to be four-wheel drive like the Continental GTC that it could potentially replace. That would mean two electric motors, each of them driving just one axle as in Tesla’s Model S P100D.

> Read our review of the Tesla Model S

If the EXP12 Speed 6e looks familiar that’s because rather than its body being all-new it’s really a drop-top version of the Bentley EXP10 Speed 6 that was shown at the 2015 Geneva motor show.

The new Speed 6e has the same nose as the coupe concept and even features a six in the grille. Rather than being painted on the mesh of the radiator vent like the old concept or a pre-war racing Bentley, the 6e’s digit lights up when the car is running.

It’s inside where the Speed 6e really impresses, though. The car’s centre console is made from curved glass that covers a high-definition screen LED where the infotainment is accessed and controlled.

> Read more about the Bentley EXP10 Speed 6

Advertisement - Article continues below

The cutaway steering wheel in the Speed 6e has two buttons contained within the rim at the top of the wheel. One activates a boost in performance while the other limits the car’s speed. Glass panels on the spokes of the wheel allow extra control of infotainment system.

The interior is trimmed in luscious deep red leather, but rather than the affected, synthetic-looking hide found in modern cars the covering on the Speed 6e’s seats and dash looks more natural. The visible grain and discolouration of the leather almost conjures up the smell of a tannery or cobblers workshop. The luxury is increased by polished aluminium switches as well as a copper surround to the gear selector and inlays in the door panels.

Thanks to the exquisite looking leather and shiny metal the inside of the Speed 6e looks like a much more appealing place to be than the clinical environment of most modern cars; it’s the automotive equivalent of a wood panelled study in a grand stately home.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/bentley/201999/bentley-bentayga-hiding-a-big-update-before-reveal-next-year

Bentley Bentayga hiding a big update before reveal next year

28 Nov 2019
Visit/bentley/201705/iconic-blower-bentley-recreated-in-12-car-continuation-series
Bentley

Iconic ‘Blower’ Bentley recreated in 12-car continuation series

8 Sep 2019
Visit/bentley/22873/bentley-exp-100-gt-concept-reveals-crewe-s-take-on-the-future-of-gt-motoring
Bentley

Bentley EXP 100 GT Concept reveals

10 Jul 2019
Visit/bentley/22834/bentley-previews-all-electric-exp-100-gt-concept
Bentley

Bentley previews all-electric EXP 100 GT concept

1 Jul 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-yaris-gr-4-teased-in-new-video-true-wrc-homologation-special-on-the
Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris GR-4 teased in new video

Gazoo Racing to follow up its 2019 WRC championship with an all-new car based on the GR-4 hot hatch
4 Dec 2019
Visit/jaguar/f-type/22839/2020-jaguar-f-type-revealed
Jaguar F-Type

2020 Jaguar F-type revealed 

An updated Jaguar F-type has been revealed with a consolidated engine range and new front end
2 Dec 2019
Visit/nissan/gtr/21433/limited-run-nissan-gt-r50-to-enter-production-in-2020
Nissan GT-R coupe

Limited-run Nissan GT-R50 to enter production in 2020

First customer GT-R50s set to hit the road next year, with prices starting beyond the €1million mark
5 Dec 2019
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019