As it turns 100, Bentley to look to future with EV, concept

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Bentley celebrates its centennial in 2019 (the actual date is July 10), and the automaker is clearly excited.

In an interview with Car Sales published Thursday, Bentley engineering chief Werner Tietz revealed plans for a new concept defining the future of luxury at the brand. It will be revealed around Bentley’s 100th birthday on July 10, he said.

However, Tietz also provided the Australian publication with new details on an electric car in the works at Bentley. This will be a standalone model he said, one designed for use in the city.

“[The EV] will be a new model; not a derivative,” he said. “We are thinking about an extraordinary luxury car for big cities; so this is the direction.”

Despite it being designed for city use, it won’t be a small car like the BMW i3 or ill-fated Aston Martin Cygnet, Tietz revealed.

“We don’t build a small car,” he said. “It will be a luxury car with enough space to sit in.”

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept, 2017 Geneva auto show

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept, 2017 Geneva auto show

Tietz’s comments suggest Bentley won’t build an electric Continental GT Convertible, which it previewed in 2017 with the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept. The most likely bet is a coupe-like sedan utilizing the J1 platform of the upcoming Porsche Taycan, something Bentley design chief Stefan Sielaff hinted at in an interview last year. Audi is also set to utilize the J1 platform for the production version of its e-tron GT concept.

Timing on the reveal of Bentley’s electric car is unclear.

Bentley has more in store for its centennial. The brand has already revealed a special Mulsanne limited to 100 units, each featuring a slice of the original crankshaft that featured in the 1930 8 Litre owned by company founder Walter Owen (W.O.) Bentley.

Furthermore, every Bentley built this year can be fitted with special touches to mark the milestone. And don’t forget the massive 66-pound tome highlighting Bentley’s history through photos.

But wait, there’s more. Bentley will use March’s 2019 Geneva International Motor Show to present a new special edition inspired by one of the brand’s most iconic racing models. Stay tuned.

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