In addition to the 2036 vision of a luxury interior, Sielaff hinted at some aspects of design that are closer to production reality and will “take Bentley design into the future”. Indeed, some cues could be incorporated into the design of upcoming cars, such as the next Continental, which is currently in development ahead of an anticipated launch in 2017.
Bentley’s future designs will continue to emphasise the brand’s British roots via what Sielaff refers to as a “fusion of extremes”, with the sporting models at one end of the spectrum and luxury models at the other.
Bentley is plotting new cars in its portfolio; company boss Wolfgang Dürheimer recently told Autocar that he would like to see as many as seven model lines, with prospective future offerings, such as a Bentayga-derived sports SUV and the production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 coupé in the final stages of consideration.
Sielaff said the “overall ratio between performance and luxury will get even wider. Our flagships will get even more luxurious on the one hand and even more sporty on the other.”
Future Bentley designs will retain some familiar elements, such as the round headlights - which Sielaff refers to as “something that should stay with Bentley forever” – and two significant styling lines in the exterior side profile.
“One is what we call the ‘power line’ and the other is the ‘haunch’,” explained Sielaff. “So to express a really sporty statement we always separate the power line and the haunch, but in the more luxury flagship models we stretch the power line into the haunch to accentuate the length of the cars.”
Future Bentleys will also make greater use of components made via 3D printing, inspired by the use of such techniques on the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.
“3D printing is fascinating for use because it overcomes problems of production for us. You can create detailed, complex components that in the past we would not be able to make via milling or casting, for example integrating a 3D image of a Union flag into a door hinge. This is only possible using 3D printing.
“The detailing on the interior of the grille can also be 3D printed and that is also something that in the future will give each car in our family personality. We can play with the interior of the grille to make it more sporty or more elegant. These are things that are influencing our future design language from a technical perspective.”
Bentley sees sales potential among technology-savvy ‘millienials’, and “their expectations will be different”, said Sielaff who explained that, as car-buying preferences change, Bentley has to react. Having already incorporated stone veneer into its cars’ interiors as an alternative to wood or metal, Bentley is now doing research into other natural materials that could be an alternative to leather.
“In California, especially in the area around Los Angeles and San Francisco, there are some customer trends that will definitely be coming to Europe, and that are influencing our way of living and our behaviour,” he said.
“This is a more ecological and sustainable way of living, and a different way of acting towards both society and your own body, such as the vegan lifestyle. This is definitely coming into the luxury car sector at the moment. These customers are not interested in leather upholstery in cars anymore because their lifestyle almost forbids them to use material taken from animals.