The BMW X6’s illuminated kidney grilles raised a few eyebrows last week, so allow us to present something along similar lines you might find more agreeable.
It’s the front end of the striking, fully electric Bentley EXP 100 concept, dominated by a huge light-up grille which awakes as you approach the car. It’s able to display different colours and a variety of patterns, and having seen the car in the metal, we can confirm it’s quite mesmerising to watch.
It’s just one of several ‘look at me’ features on the EXP 100, a car which is intended to be “a physical embodiment of the future Bentley brand,” the company said. Just take the doors as an example - they’re each two metres long, slowly and gracefully opening outwards and upwards. Once raised, they make the car three metres tall. Best you don’t park up in a multi-storey, then.
At the back, meanwhile, is an OLED screen which blends into the rear lights. It too is capable of displaying various fancy effects.
The EXP 100 is 5.8 metres long and 2.4 metres wide, but thanks to the extensive use of carbonfibre in its construction, it tips the scales at a surprisingly low 1900kg. Because it’s reasonably lithe, it’s quick: 0-60mph takes less than 2.5 seconds, and the top speed is 186mph. Well, theoretically - this isn’t a fully functioning concept.
There’s no mention of a power figure, but Bentley has said that the torque is rated at 1106lb ft. Its battery pack, which offers “will offer five times the conventional energy density,” give a range of up to 435 miles. If hooked up to a fast enough charger, it’ll be possible to take the battery from 0 to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes.
Inside, there’s a blend of sustainable materials and…less sustainable stuff like leather and 5000-year-old ‘Copper Infused Riverwood’. The seating can be adapted in three different ways, largely depending on whether or not you’re driving or being driven autonomously. The seats themselves a described as “biometric,” monitoring things like “temperature, passenger position and environmental conditions to deliver the ultimate comfort”.
To make your time in the car as pleasant as possible, there’s something called ‘Bentley Personal Assistant AI’. It’s described as “emotionally intelligent,” which presumably means it’s nice and friendly, and not at all like HAL 9000.
Exactly what it does depends on which of its five settings you’re using. Enhance gives you an experience based on the light, sounds and even smells picked up from outside the car, while Cocoon closes you off from the outside world, turning the glass roof opaque. Capture records what’s going on inside and out of the car, which can be re-played in ‘Re-Live’. Customise, finally, lets you combine elements of all four main modes.
The EXP 100 is effectively a birthday present, with Bentley’s centenary taking place on 10 July 2019. It’ll be followed up by various other activities as part of a year-long celebration of the company.