‘I had to ask myself if we should make something completely different, or do an evolution of the existing design codes,’ says Bentley Motors director of design Stefan Sielaff as we settle down in London to discuss his creative approach to the marque’s latest product, the new Continental GT, ahead of its formal reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show. He continues, ‘I felt it would be a shame to behave too harshly with a brand like this. It is not about us designers doing something wild, making a one-off statement to provoke a firework. It is about our customers and the product must stay fresh for at least the next seven years.’
Sielaff is right to be cautious, for the Continental GT is a hugely important product for Bentley since the original model shook the traditional luxury world when it was first introduced in 2003. This was a brave and provocative grand tourer with voluptuous, bold surfaces. It appealed to younger customers, opening the brand to a more global audience, and it was a huge success.
This third-generation Continental sets out to explore this narrative further, yet crucially in the digital age. This means refining the design as well as introducing advanced technology.