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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Bentley’s EV era can redefine design once again

A big Bentley is a quintessentially old world vehicle concept to me.
The kind of car that exists beyond the reach of most luxury rivals, where you go to escape the stresses and strains of the everyday, into a world where the very latest infotainment technologies and efficiency-boosting measures simply don’t figure.

Bentley Mulsanne, and the Arnage and Azure that preceded it, boasted totally unique pushrod V8 engines that didn’t rev like most modern engines, and they certainly didn’t consume unleaded fuel. It didn’t matter a damn. They were traditional, aristocratic Bentleys; wonderful, if somewhat monolithic links to the firm’s pre-Volkswagen-ownership days that felt supremely genteel and different from the homogenised modern norm, and all the more special as super-luxury products for it.

So it’ll be fascinating to see how Crewe updates the concept of a big Bentley for the electric age. This won’t be a limousine, of course; that’ll somewhat free the designers’ hands. But can it retain any of Bentley’s model flagships’ superbly relaxing, blue-blooded, old-world flavour? Would that even be a valid identity for a modern Bentley? And if not, does Crewe simply throw its existing reference points in the bin, and design a range-topping GT from a completely clean sheet?

For some inspiration, I recommend looking back in history. Bentley’s Continental GT and Flying Spur lines are better-looking than those of their immediate predecessors, but I’d like to see Crewe take its inspiration from its gorgeous 1950s R-Type Continental for its new range-topping GT, to produce something really long-of-bonnet and sleek-of-silhouette.

A modern pastiche, but one that can embody supreme elegance, pioneering craftsmanship, and unparalleled luxury in a new era.

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