New, lighter, luxury coupé and convertible will switch to a platform shared with the next-generation Porsche Panamera; hybrid powertrain will be available
Richard Bremner Autocar
27 October 2016

The next-generation Bentley Continental GT has been spotted testing in convertible GTC form ahead of the new model's expected launch in 2018. 

Both the 2018 GT coupé and GTC convertible feature new front-end styling that appears to draw from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept first seen at last year's Geneva motor show - including a lower front and rear than the current car, as well as shorter overhangs and a shorter wheelbase.

Despite receiving new styling features, the Continental still carries Bentley's hallmark design, including plenty of cues from the current model.

The next Continental will be based on a new platform called MSB, which has been co-developed by Bentley and Porsche. It will also be used in lengthened form for the next-generation Panamera, which explains why the test mule in earlier spy pictures used a shortened current Panamera bodyshell with an altered ride height and cooling to meet Bentley’s specifications.

The Continental range will be significantly lighter than the outgoing model, Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer has said.

Like the firm’s Bentayga SUV, the Continental’s bodyshell will be a hybrid-materials structure, with assorted high-strength steels reinforcing a body made mainly from aluminium. The current car is steel-bodied.

This change is part of a mass-reduction effort that should drop the car’s weight substantially below the 2375kg of today’s GT. However, it will not fall below two tonnes, Dürheimer said.

Powertrains will include the all-new 600bhp W12 that’s making its debut in the Bentayga and an updated 4.0-litre petrol V8. There will also be a petrol V6 plug-in hybrid, which will use a set-up that develops 410bhp in today’s Porsche Cayenne plug-in hybrid.

It’s unlikely that Bentley will offer a diesel V8 option in the Continental. This engine is soon to appear in the Bentayga with around 400bhp, rather than the 380bhp that it develops in the Cayenne.

Speaking at the Bentayga's launch earlier this year, Dürheimer said his “personal goal is a sustainable, stand-alone business with an annual production volume of 20,000 units”. He envisages seven model lines, although the Bentayga-derived sports SUV and the production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 coupé that would be the sixth and seventh ranges have yet to be signed off.

Talking about the advantages of Bentley being part of the new Sports and Luxury Group at Volkswagen, Dürheimer said the VW Group test drives that take place in Namibia will now be split among the new groups and involve fewer cars. More can be achieved this way, he said.

Another gain will be sharing research and development skills, as well as a supplier base suitable for high-performance and luxury models from Porsche, Bentley and BugattiDürheimer added that Lamborghini’s absence from this group “makes no sense”. 

Our Verdict

Bentley Continental GT

Full of character and still able to impress, particularly as a V8

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Comments
12

5 November 2015
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse than the Bettybunta....

6 November 2015
It won't affect you unless you live in Manchester, and play football for a living,

5 November 2015
No Diesel?
Strange?!

27 October 2016
david RS wrote:

No Diesel?
Strange?!

Yes I find it strange that whilst the Audi SQ7 and Panamera will use the 4.0 diesel this article says Bentley will not in this car yet they will in their SUV.

6 November 2015
I've always liked the Porsche Panamera, it's ugly but in a good way.

23 February 2016
"The next Continental will be based on a new platform called MSB and co-developed by Bentley and Porsche"
I doubt Bentley have had much input into the platform, Porsche will do 90% of the work and Bentley will adapt it

25 February 2016
Why won't it weigh less than 2 tonnes. The current Panamera is around that (1.9 tonnes is quoted, but the Turbo is surely more) and I hope to goodness the new one will weigh significantly less. A short wheelbase Bentley should benefit from that, even with the added leather and chrome.

5 May 2016
So high up image means Truck and hopefully you were stationary because the one in front a real close to your front end mate !!

what's life without imagination

27 October 2016
Won't the hybrid use the same underpinnings as the new Panamera hybrid which gives 462 HP combined? Agree it needs to lose a lot of weight,current car is way too heavy.

Madmac

27 October 2016
Just an assembly operation in the Uk with the bodies are made in Germany.not very environmental friendly transporting empty boxes to the Uk to be fitted out.At least the w12 engines are Uk made.

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