2017 Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept
There once was a time when Bentley was synonymous with British opulence and luxury. That notion still holds true to this day, but Bentley, like everybody else it seems, has evolved into something more than that. These days, the flying “B” has expanded its reach in the automotive landscape with two recent concept offerings showcasing the future of the company as a creator of sporty and aggressive electric sports cars. We first saw how that looked with the debut of the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and a year later, the Crewe-based, British automaker returned to Geneva to bring the coupe’s convertible counterpart, the EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept.
Part electric car, part luxury car, and part sports car, the EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept can probably be best described as the love child of all these segments, created and developed to showcase part of Bentley’s future in the event it decides to go down this road. The company has said that it plans to do just that and is convinced that an all-electric sports car like the EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept can be built without comprising the company’s long-standing tradition of class and luxury. Sounds like the company’s reaching, but remember, we’ve been down this road before.
After all, this is the same company that people scoffed at when it said that it wanted to build an SUV and yet, here we are in 2017, and the Bentayga is making a pretty good case for itself as one of the best luxury SUVs on the market today. That’s not to say that Bentley is going to follow a similar blueprint with the development of the EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept, but the bigger point here is that Bentley has successfully gotten out of its comfort zone, so there’s no reason for it not to dive into more unchartered waters.
Whether it’s the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept or the EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept, the days of brushing off Bentley’s ability to spread its wings are long gone. At this point, if it says that it’s committed to building an electric car and it has a concept car that it can use to base a future electric car from, taking the company’s word for it would be a far better option than dismissing it again entirely. We don’t know what the EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept is going to amount to, but the fact that it made its debut in Geneva earlier this month speaks to the possibilities of seeing it in production form down the road.
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EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept Is Bentley’s Commitment to Build an Electric Car
Much like Aston Martin, Bentley is going through a massive overhaul that will see a range of new vehicles and technologies hit the streets over the next couple of years. Bentley has already managed to reinvent itself by launching the Bentayga SUV, but the process is far from over and it’s set to continue with the next-generation Continental. Additionally, the British firm is working on both a new design language, as well as developing its first ever electric vehicle. The EXP 12 Speed 6e concept that just broke cover at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show previews both.
Essentially an evolution of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept from 2015, the EXP 12 drops the coupe configuration in favor of a convertible body style and adopts a range of new features inside and out. As sleek and sporty as its predecessor, the EXP 12 is identical to the EXP 10 save for the missing top and the redesigned rear bumper, which no longer includes exhaust pipes. Since this concept was envisioned with an electric drivetrain, tailpipes are no longer necessary.
The interior is also pretty much identical to the EXP 10, featuring the same central console that’s made from a solid piece of curved glass encompassing a high-definition OLED screen. It can be used to control everything from navigation and entertainment to climate control, while the two buttons at the top of the steering wheel offers access to either an instant performance boost or a speed limiter for urban area.
The main novelty is the electric drivetrain. In fact, I should say Bentley’s ambitions to offer an EV in the future, because the EXP 12 doesn’t have an electric motor yet. In the company’s own words, the goal is for customers to benefit from "high-speed inductive charging and provide a range sufficient for grand touring requirements. An electric Bentley would, for example, be able to drive between London and Paris or Milan and Monaco on a single charge."
London and Paris on a single charge? That’s almost 290 miles, which is definitely doable with the current technology, but a 300-mile range is necessary for a carefree trip. With Tesla already offering a 335-mile range, it’s definitely achievable on a large scale, but it remains to be seen how long it will take Bentley to put it into practice. The British company also claims that an all-electric Bentley "will not compromise the quality, refinement and high performance levels expected of the luxury brand," so it’s not exactly a walk in the park.
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2017 Bentley Mulsanne Hallmark Series by Mulliner
Introduced in 2010 as a replacement for the 11-year-old Arnage, the Mulsanne is currently Bentley’s range-topping sedan, sitting above the Continental Flying Spur in the lineup. The limousine received an equipment update in 2013 and various special-edition versions, including a performance-oriented Speed model until 2016, when a mid-cycle facelift was launched. Come 2017 and Bentley introduced the Mulsanne Hallmark Series by Mulliner, arguably the most exquisite limited-edition based on the full-size sedan yet.
Described as a highly exclusive model "inspired by the finest precious metals and luxury materials used by the very best jewellers," the Hallmark Series is available across the entire Mulsanne range, meaning it can be ordered for the extended wheelbase model too. Marketed as the "ultimate statement of luxury" in the Bentley family, the limited-edition model is quite the flamboyant proposition, being available in two-tone paint finishes and with either silver or gold highlights. A bit too flashy if you ask me, but I’m sure this model will be extremely popular in the Middle East where silver an gold emblems are a big thing.
The Mulsanne Hallmark Series by Mulliner makes its official debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, so make sure you stick around for photos from the event.
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2017 Bentley Bentayga Mulliner
British-based luxury automaker Bentley first introduced its Bentayga SUV in 2015 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with production ramping up in November of that same year. As the brand’s first-ever SUV, the launch of the Bentayga was anything but timid. Bentley frames the Bentayga as the most luxurious, fastest, and most expensive SUV in the world. Indeed, in this segment, it takes a lot to stand out, but even when the vehicle in question is drenched in luxury and speed and totes an asking price approaching a quarter-million dollars, some customers simply need more. Enter Mulliner, Bentley’s self-described “in-house personal commissioning division,” which was called upon to add bespoke touches and even more opulence to the already-over-the-top SUV. Just how indulgent did Mulliner get? Here are some highlights – new color schemes for the interior and exterior, hand-stitched embroidery for the seats, an onboard refrigerator, crystal champagne flutes, custom china cutlery, and a solid gold clock studded with diamonds. Yep, it’s that kind of SUV.
While certainly eye-raising to most, this list of upgrades is pretty much on par with other custom Bentleys we’ve seen in the past. But of course, the British brand is happy to pull heavily from its list of superlatives when describing this thing, with phrases like “the ultimate luxury SUV” setting the tone. Basically, the Bentayga Mulliner is Bentley’s new flagship utility vehicle, slated as the “most exquisitely appointed luxury SUV ever created,” something that “will appeal to owners searching for the pinnacle of go-anywhere motoring, with the finest performance and comfort.”
Again – you gotta be bold when playing for the top of the heap. Read on for the details on why Bentley thinks this is the best that money can buy.
Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Bentaryga Mulliner.
2017 Bentley Bentayga Diesel
Introduced in late 2015, the Bentayga is Bentley’s first-ever SUV. It’s also the most expensive and luxurious, factory-built SUV in the world as of 2016, as well as the quickest to 60 mph and the fastest in terms of top speed thanks to its brand-new, 600-horsepower W-12 engine. The people hauler is also equipped with Bentley’s latest convenience features and the finest leather and wood trim available on the market and the company’s most customizable vehicle to date. All told, until Rolls-Royce launches its SUV later this decade, the Bentayga is the fanciest option you have if you’re in the market for a luxury SUV. In 2016, Bentley enlarged the Bentayga family by adding a diesel drivetrain, making the SUV its first-even vehicle to use an oil burner.
It’s no secret that Bentley plans to turn the Bentayga into a full-size lineup of vehicles, with both a gasoline V-8 and a hybrid version being in the making. However, the big news for 2017 is the arrival of the Bentayga Diesel, the company’s first vehicle to use a different type of fuel other than gasoline. The reasoning behind it is that Bentley wants to provide a more fuel-efficient alternative to the W-12 Bentayga, as well as reduce its overall carbon footprint in anticipation of upcoming, more stringent regulations for automakers in both the European Union and the United States. Much like any recent Bentley automobile, the Bentayga Diesel borrowed its drivetrain from other Volkswagen Group products. In this case, the engine came from the performance-oriented Audi SQ7. On the other hand, the Bentayga Diesel retained all the fancy features available in the W-12 model, including its incredibly expensive options. Find out more about it in our detailed review of the SUV.
Updated 09/21/2016: Bentley dropped the official details on the Bentayga Diesel.
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Bentley, Lamborghini Add Themselves To Paris No-Shows
The Volkswagen Group has announced that two of its premium brands, Bentley and Lamborghini, are skipping the 2016 Paris Motor Show next week in an attempt to cut spending to help soften the blow of the costs it is incurring stemming from the diesel emissions scandal.
The exit of Bentley and Lamborghini comes a week after other brands announced their intention to skip the show. Aston Martin, Ford, and Rolls-Royce, and Volvo also won’t be attending the event for various reasons, including cost-cutting, revised auto show strategies, and in Volvo’s case, changing business priorities. The two VW brands are touting similar reasons for dropping out of the event. Bentley, for instance, said that it would put its focus on attending smaller auto shows where it can market its products more directly to its clientele. For its part, Lamborghini is adopting a similar strategy of picking its spots more carefully in the future, including attending auto shows in strategic locations where the market for its performance cars are the strongest.
The mass withdrawal among automakers that have been regular attendees at the Paris Motor Show can be attributed to a number of different reasons. Bentley and Lamborghini, in addition to their own specific reasons, are both tied into the affairs of the Volkswagen Group, which is still reeling from the diesel emissions scandal that has cost the conglomerate hundreds of millions of dollars. Add that to the enormous costs of simply attending an auto show as high-profile as Paris and the decision to skip the event in an effort to save some money is a prudent choice to make.
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2017 Bentley Flying Spur W12 S
Bentley introduced the Flying Spur in 2005. Developed as a four-door version of the Continental GT by the same team that created the coupe and convertible, the Flying Spur shares it underpinnings with the Volkswagen Phaeton, while its powertrain components are related to those of the Audi A8. At first fitted with just the 6.0-liter W12 engine, the Flying Spur received a 4.0-liter V-8 with the 2013 upgrade, when Bentley altered the styling and dropped the "Continental" from the official nameplate. Despite being more than ten years old at heart, the Flying Spur remains one of the most luxurious full-size sedans on the market and the British firm keeps rolling updates to keep it fresh for the competition.
Having launched a more powerful version of the Flying Spur V8, dubbed V8 S,Bentley is introducing a similar update for the W12 model for the 2017 model year. Called the Flying Spur W12 S, the new range-topping four-door borrows some of its styling features from the V8 S, while its drivetrain comes from the Continental GT Speed. On top of that, it gets styling features of its own, while the cabin is wrapped in an exclusive upholstery and packed with items that usually are available as options only.
Naturally, it’s also the most expensive Flying Spur to date, but not likely to be much pricier than the Mercedes-AMG S65, its main competitor on the high-performance, luxury market. Find out more about that in our comprehensive review below.
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1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer
When the Great Depression struck the world, the automotive industry, like other industries at the time, suffered dramatically. It took a serious toll on Bentley; so much so, that it didn’t take long for its finances to fall into shambles, and the company to be placed in receivership. Before that happened, however, Bentley tried to turn things around by introducing the Bentley 8 Litre. It was announced to the public on September 15, 1930, and was the last completely new model from Bentley before the company fell apart and Rolls-Royce Limited took ownership of the struggling company.
Due to the timing of the Great Depression, sales of Bentley’s newest wealthy people hauler were incredibly slow. With only 100 examples produced between 1930 and 1932, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Despite the fact that sales were poor, the 8 Litre was a fine automobile. It featured an 8-liter straight-six, and the chassis came at a cost of about $1,850. The model we’re here to talk about today is a 1932 tourer model that features coachwork by Vaden Plas. To put it shortly, the car is elegant and beautiful.
This specific model just went under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s auction during Monterey Car Week in 2016. We were on the scene and snagged a lot of good pictures of this beauty. So, let’s dive on in and take a closer look at this 1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Vaden Plas.
Keep reading for our full review.
2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed
It’s been only a year since Bentley introduced a mild visual update for the bonkers GT Speed and massaged its W-12 powerplant for an additional 10 ponies, and the Brits have issued yet another upgrade for its fastest production grand tourer ever. Set to bow at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March as a 2016 model, the revised GT Speed is part of an overhaul of the entire GT lineup, as well as the four-door Flying Spur. The GT Speed essentially borrows the visual enhancements that now adorn the standard GT, while receiving unique details that make it stand out as the most quick and powerful member of the GT family.
The mild upgrade brings a few nips and tucks in the cabin as well, likely to keep it fresh until the third-generation model arrives sometime in 2018. Granted, Bentley’s decision to update the Continental GT Speed two years in a row might seem strange, but the new add-ons are the result of the standard Continental’s mid-cycle facelift. Let’s have a closer look at what the GT Speed has in store for the 2016 model year in the detailed review below.
Updated 05/27/2016: Bentley announced prices for the 2017 Continental GT Speed, both coupe and convertible versions. Check the "Prices" section to see how much you will have to pay for it!
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2017 Bentley Mulsanne First Edition
At the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the Bentley Mulsanne finally received its mid-cycle facelift after more than five years in production. The update brought a new front grille and bumper, revised headlamps, new B-shaped wings on the front fenders, and new taillights on the outside, along with new wood veneers and a new infotainment system on the inside. The same upgrade was transferred onto the Speed model and the longer, Extended Wheelbase version. At the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, Bentley unveiled the First Edition, a limited-edition package that makes the Mulsanne a more exclusive vehicle.
Available for all three models, the First Edition is mostly about interior add-ons and does very little to change the sedan’s appearance. However, the interior comes with new features such as a luxury silver vanity kit and rare wood veneer, which are more than enough to turn the standard Mulsanne into a bespoke Mulliner vehicle. Bentley plans to build only 50 examples of the First Edition across the new three-model family. Not exactly a lot compared to other mainstream manufacturers, but it’s quite a lot judging by the numerous luxury features and the expensive sticker these sedans are expected to carry.
Bentley had nothing to say about pricing, but if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.
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2016 Bentley Flying Spur by Mansory
For some reason, the Bentley Flying Spur hasn’t received the kind of attention that a car of its stature deserves. Think about it, mention Bentley and the first model that comes to mind is the Continental. Then there’s the Bentayga SUV, which itself is interesting because it’s an entirely new model. It’s the same thing with the Mulsanne because it’s the flagship model. That leaves the Flying Spur in the shadows and it’s evident with the sheer number – or lack thereof – of tuning programs currently available for Bentley’s mid-size model. Fortunately, things seem to be turning around after the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Not only did the Flying Spur get some much needed love with the debut of the V8 S model, but the V12 version was also the subject of a tuning program from Mansory.
There’s a lot to look at here, specifically the way Mansory used a similar white and gold treatment on the Flying Spur, similar to one of its recent programs, the Rolls-Royce Wraith Palm Edition 999. Granted, this kit is unlikely to be offered as a nine-piece exclusive, so don’t expect any actual gold components. But what it does have is the usual Mansory tuning blueprint. It has an eye-catching body, lavish interior, and most of all, an impressive engine upgrade that adds a significant amount of horsepower into the sedan’s 6.0-liter W-12 engine.
As far as tuning kits for the Flying Spur are concerned, this is as good as it gets. Then again, that might count for much considering how few programs exist, but still, anytime Mansory gets involved, it’s more than likely going to catch a lot of people’s attention.
Continue after the jump to read the full review.
2017 Bentley Mulsanne Speed
The Geneva Motor Show is one of the biggest auto shows in the world, so it is only fitting that just about every manufacturer – at least all the ones that matter anyway – bring their latest and greatest models to the show. You better believe Bentley is there, and this year it has debuted its refreshed Mulsanne. It didn’t bring just one model to the show, though; it brought two other models – the Mulsanne long wheelbase and the Mulsanne Speed. The latter is what I’m here to talk about today.
When you think about Bentley, it’s easy to imagine just relaxing in the back of one while some driver chauffeurs you from place to place. If that’s it what you want, you’ll be more interested in the long wheelbase Mulsanne. The Mulsanne Speed is meant to be driven, and fast, too. It’s a real driver’s car with a focus on unparalleled luxury. It’s suitable to be driven around in, but with a car like this, you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you’re the one at the helm.
If you’ve already seen the pictures of the new Mulsanne, and expected the Mulsanne Speed to host significant changes in appearance, you’re going to be disappointed. In classic Bentley style, the Mulsanne Speed does have some unique exterior styling cues, but the most important thing is what is going on in the drivetrain department. I’m covering all the details of the Mulsanne Speed right here, so sit back and click past the jump. Let’s get up close and personal with the Mulsanne Speed.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne Speed.