Many of the concept cars seen recently at events such as the IAA in Munich beg the question of what fate awaits luxury carmakers: will advances in electrification, which seem to go hand in hand with advances in autonomous driving, really turn saloons and GTs into undefined vehicles with crossover shapes and salon-style interiors? And how much do the buyers of today’s big, powerful GTs really like this outlook?

At a recent event in Milan to celebrate the opening of Bentley’s new showroom in Via Grassi, representatives of the British brand wanted to draw attention to the brand’s core principles two years ahead of its centenary celebrations in 2019 and the strong link between innovation and tradition that drives the evolution of the products. On the one hand, the arrival of electrified engines, which will lead to a “green” option in the range of every model by 2025, until the definitive switch to electric propulsion from 2030, and on the other, the push towards personalisation, the techniques and sophisticated materials of the Mulliner programme.

On the occasion, we asked Balazs Rooz, Regional Director Bentley Motors Europe, how the approach to design will change with these new directions. «Our vision of the future is perfectly summed up by the EXP 100 concept car with which we celebrated our centenary: it is a fast and powerful electric car that combines autonomous and traditional driving, with a high-tech digital interior that recalls classic instruments and elements, to provide maximum customer gratification».

The EXP 100 is a confirmation that compromise is possible: comfortable, spacious interiors combine with taut lines and a design that directly develops that of current GTs, but above all it illustrates a different approach to construction too: from the paint to the wood for the interior to the fabric of the seats, everything looks perfectly in line with luxury standards but is obtained from recycled materials, by-products of agri-food processing and timber from trees that have already fallen, demonstrating that it is possible to take a more responsible approach without betraying one’s aristocratic image.