Bentley Will Honor Its 100th Birthday With the Futuristic EXP 100 GT
British automaker’s vision for the next 100 years will be represented in one concept vehicleby Kirby, on
Bentley’s 100th anniversary comes to a head on July 10, the day the automaker marked as its official birthday. While we can count on songs to be sung and cakes to be blown, Bentley’s also using its birthday to preview its future, specifically the automaker’s vision for the next 100 years. That vision is called EXP 100 GT. Ok, so it isn’t a presentation or a blueprint of what we can expect from Bentley in the next century. It’s a concept vehicle that is, according to the automaker, a “showcase of sustainability and innovation, engineered to create a greater awareness of the world outside.”
Vague as that description is, it does point to the likelihood that the EXP 100 GT will be presented as a futuristic electric car that exudes Bentley’s flair for the opulent and meticulous attention to detail. Beyond that, the Bentley EXP 100 GT remains a mystery, as it should considering its importance in shaping Bentley’s next 100 years as one of the world’s premier luxury automakers. The Bentley EXP 100 GT debuts on July 10 in the U.K. at 4 P.M. British Standard Time. That’s about 11 A.M. EST in our area of the world.
When Bentley comes out with a concept vehicle, you know something’s about to go down. The arrival of the EXP 100 GT on the automaker’s exact birthday is all the reason you need to assume that this new concept will be unlike any of the past EXP concepts — there are many of those — that the British automaker unveiled in recent years.
Granted, we don’t know a lot of details about the EXP 100 GT other than its purpose. Visually, we’re in the dark as much as anybody. The only clues we can point at include a press photo of what looks like the concept’s door sills with the make and model name of the concept. The door sill itself is way too fancy to be a typical door sill, though when it comes to Bentley, the word “fancy” takes on an entirely different meaning.
The accompanying teaser video also shows what appears to be gullwing doors, which may or may not be included in the concept’s overall package.
As revolutionary as the EXP 100 GT is poised to be, don’t expect it to look completely different from anything we’ve seen from Bentley in the past. Sure, it’ll come with a suite of futuristic technology on all corners, but, by and large, the concept is still a grand tourer, or, at the very least, it takes the shape of one. You can tell that by another teaser image, which reveals the concept’s sleek and sloping roofline and prominent wheel arches. Perhaps we could be looking at a futuristic take of the Bentley Continental GT? It’s certainly within reason given that the Continental is, without question, Bentley’s most important model. If the automaker is going to showcase its plans for the next 100 years, those plans ought to start and end with the Continental.
A number of other prominent details has been hinted at, including the concept’s powertrain.
Bentley describes the EXP 100 GT as a “transformative zero-emissions concept car,” which is short of saying that it won’t carry an internal combustion engine. Instead, reports indicate that the concept will feature a hydrogen-hybrid powertrain instead. Equally important is the concept’s ability to drive autonomously. We’ve yet to unlock the full potential of these technologies, but give it the next 100 years, and the odds of actually seeing an all-electric grand tourer with autonomous driving capability becomes far more feasible.
The EXP 100 GT will also comes with a score of cool party tricks, some more functional than others. One, in particular, that’s already been reported is a transparent OLED screen that’s built into the door card to allow occupants inside the cabin to access various functions of the car. According to Autocar, the OLED display blends with the wood veneers and will only be visible when in use, controlling features like the car’s audio or air-conditioning unit. If this looks and sounds familiar to you, it’s because a less fleshed-out version of the technology was shown in the Bentley EXP12 Speed 6 e Concept.
Speaking of which, the Bentley EXP 100 GT follows a long line of concepts that have used the “EXP” name in recent years.
The aforementioned EXP12 Speed 6 e Concept was unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show as a two-seat roadster for the future. The “EXP” concept label goes further back to 2012 when the EXP 9 F made its debut. You can say that today’s Bentley Bentayga can trace its roots back to the EXP 9 F, which Bentley unveiled to showcase what its future SUV could look like. In one of its rare missteps, Bentley was forced to go back to the drawing board to re-evaluate the SUV’s design, in part because the EXP 9 F was so reviled for its clunky looks. 2015 also saw the arrival of the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6, a two-door sports coupé that was pegged to compete against the likes of the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. It was, in a way, a futuristic interpretation of the two-door Continental GT, arguably Bentley’s most popular model.
As fancy and as provocative as Bentley’s past “EXP” concepts were, none of them carries as much weight on its shoulders as the EXP 100 GT. This concept isn’t just a take on a future that’s within reach; it’s a take on the future of grand touring writ large. That’s a pretty big deal, especially for a company that’s celebrating its official birthday on the same day that the concept makes its worldwide debut.
All shall be revealed once July 10, 2019 hits. Ground zero will take place in the U.K. at 4 P.M. British Standard Time. There have probably been bigger and more audacious reveals in Bentley’s past. But as far as future-shaping concept debuts are concerned, the Bentley EXP 100 GT is expected to be a cut above the rest.
Read our full review on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT Convertible.
Read our full review on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.
Read our full review on the 2017 Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept.
Read our full review on the 2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6.