Smaller SUV sidelined in favour of fun-mobile.
In two years time, British luxury marque Bentley will be bringing to market a medium-sized sports car that will embody Bentley’s brand values despite being propelled entirely by electric power. The electric sports car will be the fifth model line in the Bentley family, and will be sidelining a previously-rumoured shrunken-Bentayga SUV project that has been hotly discussed.
The axing of the compact(ish) SUV was confirmed by Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer, who previously told Autocar that the fifth model line in the Bentley family was either going to be a small SUV or a sports car. Asked again about the matter at the Frankfurt motor show, Durheimer said clearly that the hammer has come down, and a decision has been made.
“What I can say is that a small SUV is no longer on the scheme. We’re favouring a car with a full-electric powertrain. We intend to be the leader in electrification in the luxury segment. We see that it fits into the Bentley scheme.” — Wolfgang Durheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors Limited
Though the Bentley electric sports car will be built off of the Porsche Mission E, the powertrain and platform will be tweaked to ensure plenty of differentiation between the two, with the Bentley expected to measure in with more compact dimensions overall. It’s expected to carry a designed previewed by the EXP12 Speed 6e concept from this years’ Geneva motor show, which has since influenced the design of the Bentley Continental GT coupe.
There isn’t much mention of powertrain capabilities, but it was said during the unveiling of the EXP12 that it’ll have a 480km range on a single charge, with power going down to all four wheels, likely through a dual-motor setup (with one motor on each axle). Size-wise, the Bentley EV sports car will be slightly smaller than a Continental GT, though larger than an Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
On more immediate developments, Bentley is expected to introduce three plug-in hybrids in the near future, namely the Bentayga V6 PHEV (the first to debut), followed by the Continental and Flying Spur PHEVs.