Bentley, in case you hadn’t heard, oh, a million times already, turns 100 years old this year. In its continued birthday celebration, the automaker showed off what it believes to be the future of opulent grand touring—the all-electric, optionally autonomous Bentley EXP 100 GT concept, or its vision for the year 2035.
In some ways, it’s a bit more realistic than the usual “vision” concepts that show what cars may look like 50 or 100 years from now, or whatever. In other ways it’s all pretty fantastical.
The company announced the concept on Wednesday, calling it both “a physical embodiment of the future Bentley brand” and the grand tourer of the future—you know, for those who have Bentley money. The rest of us will be puttering around in electric city cars with barely enough room to keep from bumping our knees as we drive, because that’s life.
The EXP 100 GT, Bentley said, is its idea of what its cars will be in 15 years: electric, fully autonomous but able to be driven, full of artificial intelligence, and made of “sustainable” materials. That forward thinking is despite the fact that the front grille looks like some over-the-top antique crystal glassware.
Bentley’s thought experiment can go from a standstill to 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, it said, with a top speed of 186 mph and more than 1,106 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot.
Bentley didn’t talk about horsepower, but did say the idea is for the nearly 4,200-pound car to be able to charge to 80 percent in 15 minutes and have a 435-mile range. (For reference, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye weighs about 4,500 pounds, and Tesla claimed in April that its updated Model S Long Range can go 370 miles.)
The EXP 100 GT is smart on the inside, too, with things like the AI assistant—something Engadget calls an “AI butler,” which we all need—and biometrics that monitor temperature, eye and head movements, blood pressure, passenger position and environmental conditions to adjust the car for more comfort in the moment. If you thought having an Amazon Echo at home was freaky, maybe all of this isn’t for you.
The rest of Bentley’s description of the concept sounds kind of like an ad for a scam natural remedy, or as if buying a car worth more than a lot of people’s houses is an act of conservation—saying things like how “preservation of the world and the self should be at the forefront” and how the car is “engineered to create a greater awareness of the world” with things like 5,000-year-old wood.
It’s... something. From the announcement:
The Bentley EXP 100 GT features air and sound curation that promotes self-care and well-being in the car. These create a physiological, health-enhancing environment for passengers, promoting increased mindfulness in the cabin.
Bentley has collaborated with carefully selected industry experts to provide exceptional materials in the Bentley EXP 100 GT. All use sustainable and innovative techniques for customers who are environmentally-conscious and ethical in their brand choice.
Light is core to life and in the Bentley EXP 100 GT it is harvested from the surrounding environment via an innovative glass roof embedded with prisms that collect light and transfer it into the cabin using fibre optics. The use of harvested natural light and synthesised light offers a new approach to enhancing wellness on board.
This all sounds well and good, for the people who will have the cash to buy it. But the way we’re going, by 2035, the rich may be the only ones left anyway.