Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e reignites concept with electric power

Bentley has picked green as its favourite colour, promoting its first all-electric car at the Geneva show in the form of the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept that may form the basis for a new small convertible model.

The EXP convertible on display at this week's Geneva show follows on from the 2015 Geneva show coupe version, the equally long-winded Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6, but replaces the coupe's V6 hybrid-petrol engine with an electric motor.

Bentley said the 6e - the "e" is for electric - has a range of about 450km and uses a drivetrain and induction charging system similar to that developed by sibling Porsche for its Mission-E

This Porsche four-door concept, first shown at the Frankfurt motor show in 2015, is now confirmed as being integral to Porsche's future line up.

Porsche is on record for saying the electric drive was expected to expand into other Porsche variants and across other brands under the Volkswagen umbrella.

No details other than the potential range of the car have been published by Bentley, but it is likely to beneath the Continental GT in both size and price, if a production version were to materialise.

The car is seen as the new junior model in Bentley's range and is expected to become reality with the initial choice of a plug-in hybrid V6 and an aspirated V8, both from the Porsche engine line.

The ostentatious cabin of the concept has burgundy analine leather throughout.

Bentley Motors chairman and CEO Wolfgang Duerhemier said the EXP concept was intended to gauge the reaction of the public, both to the electrification option and to the design of the small car. Bentley used the same show-and-tell philosophy with the concept of its Bentayga SUV which resulted in some last-minute styling changes.

He said the concept confirmed that Bentley was keen to bring electric motoring to the luxury sector, "with the appropriate technology, high quality materials and refinement levels you'd expect from a true Bentley".

The convertible concept shares the figure 6 emblazoned on its large mesh grille with its coupe sister. Bentley said the mesh is made from a "complex 3D geometry" pattern rather than the wire of the coupe's grille.

It features huge wheels with a mix of black painted sections and aluminium to create the illusion of spinning spokes.

The tail treatment is similar to the coupe with a boat-shaped design, though the V6-engined coupe's oval exhaust pipes are replaced with slotted vents.

It has a charging socket - for occasions when induction charging is not available - hidden beneath the rear number plate to give it a clean body design.

The ostentatious cabin of the concept has burgundy analine leather throughout, even covering the indicator stalks, sun visors, steering column and tonneau cover.

Like an aircraft control, the steering wheel has been chopped to open the top section and incorporate a pair of buttons that each offer thumb-tip engagement of the torque overboost and speed limiter.

Bentley has used a central control organic LED (OLED) touchscreen set behind a single curved piece of glass, and carries its tradition of timber with wood veneer panels to cover the few sections of interior not upholstered with leather.

The fine copper colour used as highlights in the cabin - notably the gear selector dial - are a nod to the EXP 6e's use of copper wire in the electric motor.

With electric drive now an important cog in Volkswagen's future, the flow on for Bentley starts next year with a plug-in hybrid version of its Bentayga SUV and then a production version of the EXP convertible and coupe in 2019.

What is your reaction to the EXP convertible and will it find favour with its electric powerplant? Tell us what you think in the comments below.