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Students at London's Royal College of Art have designed aerodynamically innovative Bentleys as part of a competition organized by the prestigious car manufacturer. We showcase the four finalists and the futuristic fleet.


The brief to the eighteen Vehicle Design Course Master students at London’s Royal College of Art was clear: design a new Bentley coupe that captures the essence of the brand while exploring new aerodynamic concepts. Known as the Aero-Ace project, this wasn’t just another academic test. It was, rather, a competition in collaboration with the prestigious car manufacturer. The prize: four finalists would be given the chance to refine their designs with Bentley’s Head of Exterior Design, Raul Pires, while the winner would be invited to join the brand’s design studio on a six-month secondment.

The striking designs are in and the finalists have been announced as Bora Kim, David Seesing, Marten Wallgren and Mikka Heikkinen. “These four designers have captured the essence of our brand, recognizing what makes a Bentley instantly recognizable on the road,” comments Pires on their work. “They’ve grasped that excellent design should always seek to enhance a car’s handling and performance, as well as optimizing its environmental credentials.”

Using cutting edge software from Exa, including its PowerFlow programme, the students were able to accurately test their concepts in virtual wind tunnels. The differences in their interpretation of the brief ranges from Marten Wallgren’s idea to build on the iconic lines of the Bentley Continental GT to Augustin Barbot’s entry influenced by Formula 1 racing cars. Secreted air vents were used in most of the concepts.

The winner of the Aero-Ace project will be announced on February 5, 2010. Given the Royal College of Art’s stellar reputation for producing influential car designers, and the close involvement of Bentley, industry insiders will be watching closely.

THE FOUR FINALISTS:

Bora Kim (26) from South Korea has created a Bentley, which enables the owner to easily select their preferred engine for any given journey.

Sweden’s Marten Wallgren (27) created a futuristic version of the Bentley Continental GT.

David Seesing (26) from Cologne in Germany will be the third generation of his family to work in the motor industry and has impressed Bentley with his ability to combine radical design with impressive aerodynamics.

Finland’s Mikka Heikkinen (26) created a high-performance Bentley and used his industrial design training to conceive a powerful, visually arresting concept vehicle.

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