The Bentley brand and its cars has proven to resonate with their luxury customer base, with the 2+2 Continental GT and more recent Bentayga SUV receiving particular attention from those with deep and loaded pockets.
But the German-owned British automaker is still keen to expand further into the sports car space, one that’s a lithe handler but still draped with the lavish materials we’re used to seeing in Bentleys. This intention materialised with the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept that was shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and later with the drop-top electrically-powered EXP 12 Speed 6e in 2017.
However, the stumbling block encountered by the Bentley product management folk is the possible competition it might cause between them and the other cars in the Volkswagen Group portfolio, namely the Audi R8 and Lamborghini, according to Motoring.
With a potential production version of the Speed 6, the two cars may be close enough in price and performance that a customer may weigh the two against each other before making a purchase decision.
Uday Senapati, technical operations chief for Mulliner, a Bentley division for bespoke vehicles, stressed that, despite the internal momentum, they will only proceed if they can create enough of a niche segment for this new model in a way that it doesn’t tread on the appeal of other cars under the Group’s portfolio.
He was also non-dismissive of the idea that this said niche could include a high-performance luxury two-seat sports car that’s powered by electricity in some manner, either via a hybrid or fully electric powertrain setup, adding: “How we combine those and whether that [two-seat sports car] will be the vehicle carrying that propulsion system or not — those are the kind of decisions we’re looking at making it now.”