Bentley EXP 100 GT concept sports futuristic tech in a Steampunk wrapper

Bentley is celebrating its 100th birthday, but instead of looking back on the past, the venerable British automaker is looking ahead to the future — specifically the year 2035. Bentley’s birthday gift to itself, the all-electric EXP 100 GT concept, is supposed to represent what luxury cars will look like at that point, which is also exactly 10 years after Bentley plans to launch its first production electric car.

It may have been built to represent the future, but the Bentley EXP 100 GT looks like it belongs on the cover of a Steampunk novel. The round headlights and massive grille give it an antique look, as does the smattering of copper trim. The use of copper trim, along with aluminum, is a reference to founder W.O. Bentley’s BR.1 aircraft engine from World War I, according to Bentley. The main structure and body of the car are made from a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber. The EXP 100 GT also features “active aero wheels” that can adjust to emphasize efficiency or performance, as well as “intelligent tires” that can automatically adapt their tread patterns to different road conditions, according to Bentley, although it’s unclear how those features are supposed to work.

The car itself is massive. At 5.8 meters long (19.0 feet) and 2.4 meters (7.8 feet) wide, the two-door EXP 100 GT is longer and wider than a Chevrolet Suburban, and positively dwarfs the current Bentley Continental GT coupe. The doors pivot outwards and upwards, something one would normally expect to see on a supercar, not a stately luxury coupe. They stand almost 3.0 meters (9.8 feet) tall when fully opened. Tesla and other automakers use the space normally occupied by an engine as a second trunk, but Bentley would never do anything so pedestrian. That space houses a water decanter and crystal glasses for the driver and front passenger.

Under the skin, the EXP 100 GT sports four electric motors churning out a combined 1,106 pound-feet of torque (Bentley didn’t quote a horsepower figure). The massive coupe will do zero to 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, and reach a top speed of 186 mph, according to Bentley. In the year 2035, batteries will also offer five times the energy density of current lithium-ion batteries, Bentley believes. That ability to cram more electricity into a given volume will give the EXP 100 GT a range of 435 miles per charge, with the capability to recharge to 80 percent in just 15 minutes, according to Bentley. The EXP 100 GT was also designed to be “optionally autonomous,” allowing the driver to choose when to take the wheel, and when to let the computers do the work.

Bentley wanted its emphasis on sustainability to extend beyond the EXP 100 GT’s electric powertrain. The concept car’s paint is made from recycled rice husks, while the wood trim comes from 5,000-year-old, naturally fallen trees preserved in peat bogs, lakes, and rivers. Bentley also used byproducts from winemaking to create an organic leather alternative.

The interior isn’t just nice to look at. The seats use biometric sensors to automatically find the most comfortable position, and the car is capable of tracking occupants’ eye movement and blood pressure to detect signs of discomfort. A digital assistant uses this data to automatically make changes to cabin settings, like a virtual butler. It can even set the onboard air purification system to let in specific smells from the outside.

The Bentley EXP 100 GT concept isn’t intended for production, and some of its more outlandish features will likely remain the stuff of automaker press releases. But Bentley is moving toward electrification. Starting with the Bentayga SUV, Bentley plans to add a hybrid powertrain to every model by 2023. The first all-electric Bentley production car will follow in 2025.

Updated on July 10, 2019: Added photos and details of the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept.

Cars

Formula E races aren’t just exciting, they’re driving EV tech into the future

Formula E made its annual trip to the Big Apple, showing just how far the all-electric racing series has come. The cars are faster, and the racing is closer, but the tailpipe emissions are still at zero.
Cars

2020 Lincoln Aviator adaptive suspension scans the road for potholes

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator's adaptive suspension system uses an array of sensors to detect potholes and other road imperfections, then preemptively adjusts settings to maintain a smooth ride.
Cars

Hooked on gas? Porsche is about to give you a good reason to go electric

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.
Cars

Cadillac’s new 2020 CT5 sedan lets you Super Cruise across America

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 proves the General Motors-owned luxury brand still cares about sedans. Introduced at the 2019 New York Auto Show, it's optionally available with Cadillac's Super Cruise technology and a lineup of turbocharged engines.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Wearable chargers and A.I.-enhanced keyboards

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Polaris builds Lunar Rover Vehicle replica with Indian, Slingshot, and RZR parts

Polaris Industries employees worked with a NASA astronaut and members of the original Apollo 11 Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV) team to build a replica of the vehicle that landed on the moon. Most of the parts came from current Polaris vehicles.
Cars

I used to be a die-hard petrol-head, but Jaguar’s electric SUV converted me

Simply put, the Jaguar I-Pace is the first electric vehicle I’ve driven that hasn’t made me miss an internal combustion engine, or even once consider that I’m in an electric car. Regardless of how it is propelled, the I-Pace is a…
Cars

Audi’s latest suspension system can help protect you during a crash

The Audi A8 is getting a more sophisticated adaptive suspension system for the European market. The system can raise or lower the body in a fraction of a second, improving ride, handling, and even safety, according to Audi.
Cars

Tesla Model 3 is the world’s most-searched-for electric car, survey says

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-searched-for electric car in the world, according to a survey of Google search data. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S were far behind the Model 3 in second and third place, respectively.
Cars

For $25 a month, Uber will give you rides, rent you a scooter, and grab dinner

Uber is working on a monthly subscription plan that gives users access to discounted rides, free Uber Eats food delivery, and free JUMP bike and scooter rides. The plan is being tested in San Francisco and Chicago.
Cars

Amazon wants Alexa embedded in every vehicle to connect with smart homes

Amazon is following up on Alexa's penetration into smart homes with an incursion to embed the voice assistant in cars. There are third-party Alexa-compatible automotive aftermarket products, but the big score is in-vehicle software systems.
Cars

Toyota shows off mascot robots and tiny autonomous car for Tokyo Olympics

Toyota has shown off seven robots that it says will assist and entertain during the Tokyo Olympics next summer. The collection includes mascot and telepresence robots, as well as a tiny autonomous car to help during field events.
Cars

Acronis helps Formula E teams protect potentially race-winning data

Even race teams need good cybersecurity software. Acronis works with three teams in the all-electric Formula E series to protect and analyze data from race cars. It even devised a way to detect faulty sensors on cars.
Cars

Amazon helps Honda turn some of its cars into mobile mailboxes

Honda is making Key by Amazon available on a handful of its cars starting in July 2019. Owners of compatible cars who are also Amazon Prime members and have a valid HondaLink subscription can get packages delivered to their car's trunk.