Bentley Shows Off At The Geneva Motor Show

About Chris Clark

Chris is a writer, a keen fencer and in his spare time a turbo-charged petrol head who enjoys track days, car shows and reading about cars he'll probably never own. He also drove a reasonably priced car around the Top Gear test track in a respectable 1:49.0

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Bentley Mulliner Bentayga

The W12 Bentayga gives a very surprising 0-60 in 4.1 seconds, which isn’t far behind the majority of your sports cars out there. So, for a big car, it moves quite well. The off-road capability that this car holds is pretty much as much as anybody else could require in the marketplace.

In the boot, there’s a custom-built picnic hamper, again from the Mulliner department, to further drench the car in personalisation. You can then have these individually made and tailored for your car and car colouring. You’ve got a cooler box section, again with champagne flutes and picnic trays in and around. Mulliner has actually extended their range for the boot and introduced a fly fishing range, and they’re looking in the future to do a clay pigeon shooting range box as well. Each will be tailor-made for each individual car. The colour of the interior is chosen along with the design of the box.

Bentley Goes Electric

The EXP 12 6E is the potential face and future of Bentley motors. The idea that we’ve got it on a stand is so that we can gauge customer reactions to identify on the sports car front whether or not they will buy a sports car truly because of emotion. A) It’s a great looking car – that could mean that on looks alone you would but a car. However, we do feel in the marketplace, there is an amount of engineering and specific engine noise that will also stir emotion into buying a car. It’s not just how it looks – it’s how it sounds, how it drives etc.

EXP12 is a fully electric car, not a hybrid. With that, you can potentially lose engineering feats in terms of engines, valves, how it runs and how it sounds. So, we’re trying to gauge while we’re here in Geneva by doing a survey to customers if that is the future of motors. The other thing is the styling – showing where our styling is going forward and what our styling department are thinking.

With regards to the sound, where does the future of motor vehicles end, realistically? We all know through current cars that are coming out that the 0-60 and the ‘off the mark’, in terms of electric cars, can be quite exciting. But do they actually stir the emotions in the background like a lovely V8 exhaust or our current W12 engines? 3 or 4 years down the line, who knows where technology will be on motivators?

This is just a concept car at the moment.

The New Bentley Supersport

On to our latest and greatest. In 2009, we produced a one-off model called the super sport, which was designed originally to be a two-seater, with no rear seats in there. Saving quite a lot of weight, this is the most extreme Bentley in the world. I’m pleased to say that we’ve just reproduced it. We sold 358 in the UK. This year, we are limiting this to 100 cars in the UK, with a 60/40 split of coupe vs. convertible. We have now produced 700 break horse power from our W12 engine which gives the blistering 3.1 seconds 0-60 in the coupe, still with all-wheel drive. On top of there, carbon fibre panels, the de-chroming elements around the car, and this is a carbon fibre weaved veneer. That’s entwined in there which can then go on the facing panels and door panels and in the rear quarter. As with generation 1, Alcantara has come back on the seat inserts. We can then do a 3-way colour split, whereas in gen 1 we only did a 1 colour way. This brings an extra accent in there. We expect these cars to be sold out pretty much as soon as customers can get to experience and see how this car feels. Going forward, this will hopefully be a collector model just because of the rarity.

At 420 mm, the largest break discs on a production car in the world. Obviously, the reason behind that is this car has an incredible performance with remarkable torque settings, so we need the car to be able to stop quite amicably. This just demonstrates the starter wheel, what you have is a 20 twin spoke, the 10 front twin spokes are polished and lacquered, leaving the back ones de-chromed. On the convertible, you can get the full matte black, so you’ve got the two options of wheels.

Going back to super sports, this is a show car but gives you a demonstration of how we have been able to introduce a third colourway into the car. What you start off with on this particular one is the main colour being beluga, which is the Alcantara and black leather, then there’s a linen in there and then the added verge of the 3rd colour which continues into the doors, making the car very exciting and personalised. The great thing about that is out of the 100, not one should be alike because of all the options available. It should make every single car a different car.

On the coupe, we have a standard carbon fibre spoiler at the back. This does actually do a job. This car can do a top speed of 209mph, so the spoiler is actually designed to push the back end down, maintaining it close to the floor. You can get a full titanium exhaust system as well, which sounds absolutely awesome. Put that together with all the carbon fibre doors, door mirrors, extra in lights on the bonnet which is unique to super sports, and the wind protectors around the front, makes it a very menacing look of a car.

In terms of options, depending on which model you choose, you have a set range of exterior colours and interior colours. For example, there may be 17 interior colours you can select as standard. Then you can go into a secondary palette of colours, and then you can finally go into completely custom built, anything that you want. If suddenly you decide that your watch strap is your favourite colour, you can hand back to our Mulliner team, who will then match that colour and put it on your car.

We encourage customers to actually come to Bentley motors because there you can see an array of colours and cars. So, when they are selecting their own car, the retailer has the capability of showing samples and swatches. We, at the factory, have an array of styles on display on the production line which is destined for all different parts of the world. You’ll find different colours favour different parts of the world, and some regions tend to be a little bit more extravagant with their colour options than the UK. You can actually see some really nice, exciting colours out there which do change customers’ opinions from their original setup. There are some countries in the world that have a solid gold design, absolutely!