Bentley’s Future Sports Car Could Be Called "Barnato"
Bentley’s oft-tumored, we’re-still-waiting-for-it sports car appears to have been given a name. Word on the street is that the sports car will be christened with the name “Barnato,” a direct reference to former Bentley chairman and Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Woolf Barnato. Bentley has yet to confirm the use of the Barnato name for the sports car, but according to Auto Express, the British automaker has already filed for the trademark of the name. More interesting is that the trademark was filed back in 2014 together with Bentayga, which as all of us know by now, is the name of the company’s first-ever SUV. Seems like Bentley has been preparing for this moment for a while now.
The Barnato has been described as a “small soft-roadster” and will likely be based on the EXP 10 Speed 6, a concept sports car that Bentley unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Should the description fit the production model, expect the Barnato to be configured as a two-seater, drop-top model that will occupy the same space as the Continental GT within Bentley’s range. That implies that the sports car will be expensive, possibly sitting at a price point near the $150,000 range, right around where some of its would-be rivals, namely the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, are priced.
There’s not much to go around as far as mechanicals are concerned. Engine options are unclear at this point, although the company is reportedly considering a fully electric version to line up against the Tesla Model S. That particular powertrain supposedly consists of a four-wheel-drive battery electric unit that provides enough power to propel the Barnato to a top speed of about 200 mph.
Expect more details to arrive soon as the clock winds down towards the Barnato’s rumored launch. If everything falls into place, the Bentley Barnato could make its debut sometime in 2017 with a production target of 2020.
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Why it matters
If it isn’t obvious before, it might as well be now. Bentley’s model expansion is in full swing and the British automaker appears to be going all-in on the move. The Bentayga is already in the market and soon enough, we’re going to get the company’s first full-spec sports car. Sure, the name “Barnato” is still not officially confirmed, but if Bentley filed the trademark for the name in the same time it did with the Bentayga, there’s a clear reason for doing so.
Oh, and picking the name Barnato is a good way for Bentley to tie in the sports car with its rich motoring history. See, Barnato is more than just a former Bentley chairman. He’s also a three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner and is one of only a few drivers to win the iconic endurance race in every race he entered. So it’s fitting that if Bentley were to have a name for a sports car, naming it after a man who has a 1.000 batting average at Le Mans is as good a choice as any.
Other than the name, there’s not much to digest about the Bentley sports car. The design is expected to be based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept, although if they asked me, I’d tell them to just use the concept’s look and just make minor tweaks to it. Yep. The EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept looks awesome and it would make for a really good addition to Bentley’s overall lineup.
Having the Barnato to go with old stalwarts like the Continental and Mulsanne, as well as the Bentayga SUV really gives Bentley a rounded and admittedly potent model lineup. If this is Bentley’s strategy in trying to double its annual sales to 20,000 units by 2020, then for what it’s worth, it’s headed in the right direction.
Read our full review on the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 here.