Bentley is poised to launch a new line of two-seat sports cars based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car that was first revealed at the Geneva motor show in 2015 - but boss Wolfgang Durheimer has revealed there is a possibility it will not be built in Britain, unless there is more clarity in Brexit negotiations in the coming months.
Durheimer is seeking board approval to push the sports car - which would rival two-seaters from Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren and be priced alongside the Bentley Continental from around £150,000 - to production. He expects a decision midway through 2017.
“If we can add a third model line alongside the Continental and Bentayga, then Bentley will be on a very sound footing for the future,” said Durheimer. “The goal is to build a solid, sustainable business and having all of these lines would allow us to maintain volume in as model cycles are renewed.”
Durheimer refused to specify what the third model would be, but it is widely expected to be a two-seater based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car, for which pre-engineering work is believed to have begun. Sources suggest it could reach production by 2019 - but Durheimer made it clear that Brexit was making negotiations with the VW board hard.
“They want to know about stable plans - and at the moment there is no stability around Brexit,” said Durheimer, who is due to meet government officials next week to discuss Brexit strategy and his investment plans. “I cannot delay progress for Bentley, even if that means building cars outside of Britain - Bentley’s growth must come first, and building in Britain second.”
At the time of its reveal Durheimer described EXP 10 Speed 6 as “offering thrilling, driver-orientated performance, complete with trademark modern Bentley luxury and effortlessness.”
It is expected the car would be based on a version of the MSB flexible architecture of Bentley’s Volkswagen Group parent, but have a wheelbase that is approximately 100-120mm shorter than that of the Continental GT, and a much sharper driver focus.
“What I can tell you is that the new car will be younger and more exciting than anything in our line-up,” said Durheimer. “It will appeal to a completely new kind of customer.”