Bentley wants to build a Vantage fighter. And it’s bloody confident about its chances out in the wild if it makes it to production.
The company put two-seaters from Aston Martin, Ferrari, and McLaren in its crosshairs when it revealed the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept for the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
Positioned as a sportier offering than the Continental, it’s now followed that up with the EXP 12 Speed 6e, a convertible evolution of the original EXP 10 concept, at this year’s show.
Uday Sepanti, head of technical operations at Bentley’s Mulliner sub-brand, was one man closely involved with the Speed 6e’s development.
And when asked about how the latest project’s been received by markets at the recent Bentayga diesel SUV launch, he told MOTOR it’s a shoe-in.
“We used to do big cars and then we went into Continental. Which many people told us was a bad a move. And Continental as we know today is the bread and butter of Bentley.
“Similarly we did the SUV which most people told us it was the wrong decision, and now every luxury brand out there is following us.”
“And on those similar lines,” he continues, “when we floated the idea of a two-seater sports car it has been received extremely, extremely well. For once people haven’t said this is not the right product for Bentley so it’s a guaranteed success.”
Since the EXP 10’s reveal the company has reportedly said a third sportier model would bolster its portfolio going forward.
Uday tells us there’s a solid business case and amount of development behind the new car, but finding its place in the Volkswagen Group is one of the last hurdles it must clear.
“We are a portfolio of brands, we can’t be directly competing against each other. If we can create a niche segment for it then yes [we’re close to signing it off].”
Used to gauge customer feedback on a Bentley performance hybrid, the EXP 12 Speed 6e uses an electric all-wheel drive powertrain and would likely use Porsche’s Mission-E’s platform if greenlighted.
He says Bentley’s completed a lot of development on electric performance, but “whether the [EXP 10/12] will be the vehicle carrying that propulsion system or not, those are the kinds of decisions we still need to make.”