I haven’t been this excited about a Bentley concept since 1999. The EXP 100 GT is a very attractive, and admittedly a bit weird, concept car. It doesn’t quite hold a candle to the smooth and flowing late 1990s design of the Bentley Hunaudières. This gorgeous sumbitch had a freakin’ 8-liter W16 engine with 623 horsepower and a five-speed manual transmission. It’s a damn shame it was never kicked over to production spec, but I’m still glad it exists as a concept.
This gorgeous sumbitch had a freakin’ 8-liter W12 engine with 623 horsepower and a five-speed manual transmission.
The Bentley Hunaudières actually housed a W16, not a W12. Quite possibly, it was an early naturally-aspirated version of the quad-turbo 8.0-liter W16 engine that ended up in the production Bugatti Veyron.
It was also probably a test bed for Volkswagen Group’s modern four-bank W engine layout, which had not been released in any production vehicle at that time. Subsequently, Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, and Bugatti models all debuted with W-layout engines in 8-, 12-, and 16-cylinder layouts, and the latter two brands continue to use them. But that didn’t start until after the turn of the century.
As a matter of fact, the Hunaudières itself was likely a proof-of-concept for the Bugatti Veyron, given the similar layout, design, and engines. But, rather than make it a Bugatti, VW Group probably gave the project to Bentley (whom they had just acquired the year prior) because it was a nice image departure from their history and contemporary situation of building fidgety and old-fashioned luxury cars...and not high-tech supercars. It kind of showed the way forward for Bentley, at least in the way of the soon-to-arrive 2004 Continental GT.