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Bentley close to adding a sports car to its range

Bentley has again hinted it will add a sports car to its model line-up alongside its GT, luxury sedan and SUV offerings.

Speaking to CarAdvice at the recent launch of the new 2018 Bentley Continental GT, John Paul Gregory, head of exterior design for Bentley, said the company was always looking at opportunities to attract new – and importantly, younger – customers.

Gregory said the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6, revealed as a concept to the world at the 2015 Geneva motor show, provides more than a hint to the company’s future direction.

“Obviously, we have shown direct intent for [a sports car] with the Bentley Speed 6, and of course, beyond that, we had the convertible electric sports car (EXP 12) as well, that we showed at Geneva earlier on this year,” Gregory told CarAdvice.

“It’s absolutely something that we are looking into. What’s clear, is that there’s a thirst for a product to appeal to a newer, younger customer. Of course, the high nett worth individual is becoming increasingly Millennial and we need to understand how we can engage with that customer and what we can offer.”

Bentley stunned with the Gregory-designed Speed 6 concept two years ago, the sleek, low-slung two-seater coupe a departure from the British marque’s usual bold, and somewhat blocky, design statement.

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said at the time of the concept’s reveal the company was “readying the concept for a decision. It would come as a two-door coupe, but a roadster is possible as well. It would be launched after the next Continental.”

Above: Bentley's head of exterior design, John Paul Gregory

The “next Continental” has now been launched so all eyes now turn to Bentley to see if its vision of entering the sports car market will come to fruition.

Gregory, who also designed the new Continental GT, told CarAdvice that, “I think there’s certainly potential in our brand to do a car like that".

“I think what the EXP 10 Speed 6 gave us, certainly from a design point of view, it gave us the freedom to be very experimental, which has influenced the Continental.

“But actually, from a Bentley point of view… it’s given us the confidence to say, ‘yeah, you know what? We know there’s potential in our brand’.”

Above: 2018 Bentley Continental GT

Gregory added the Speed 6 would allow the brand to position itself against the likes of Jaguar and Aston Martin in the sports car segment, and in the process attract a younger generation of buyers to the brand.

“We attracted a lot of interest with the Speed Six, and a lot of interest was from young customers who said, ‘wow, yeah. I would buy a Bentley now. Maybe before I wouldn’t’,” Gregory said.

“I think the Continental is definitely a first step towards trying to get a younger customer. But yeah, I think we need to continue on that mission. There’s no doubt that there will be more product.”

Gregory also cheekily hinted at a smaller SUV – a baby Bentayga – joining the Bentley range at some point down the line.

“Nothing is off the table,” he smiled.