The new Bentley Continental, which will come to market in 2017, could be lighter and sportier thanks to a new Porsche-derived platform
12 November 2014

Bentley is poised to take a huge step forward with the next-generation Continental by basing it on the Porsche-developed MSB platform shared with the next Panamera, which is in development ahead of a planned launch in 2016.

One Volkswagen Group insider told Autocar: “Bentley will use our technology and there is a good relationship between us. This is a big chance for them.”

That’s not surprising, given that the current Continental’s VW Group D1 platform – conceived for the VW Phaeton – is now 12 years old and will celebrate its 15th birthday when the new Continental is launched in mid-2017.

For a start, the new platform will be engineered for Porsche’s sporty driving characteristics, which should endow the Bentley with much more focused driving manners. 

Significantly, it should do away with the nose-heavy weight distribution that hampers the dynamics of the current Continental family by replacing the current car’s Audi front transaxle with a system that passes drive to the front wheels via a ‘quill’ shaft driven from the rear of the transmission.

This system is used in today’s Panamera and allows four-wheel drive to be combined with an engine mounted farther back in the engine bay for superior dynamic balance.

The more sophisticated MSB platform, with its high aluminium content, also offers Bentley the chance to design a roomier Flying Spur saloon equipped with every luxury add-on, yet without a significant increase in kerb weight.

And most significant, Bentley gets access to the all-new Porsche petrol V8 in torquey turbo guise. This engine is being developed as a premium-brand sporty V8, which means fewer volume-production compromises than the Audi-designed V8 that Bentley currently uses.

Potentially, this clears the way for much sportier Continental Speed models to address one of the weaknesses of top-end Continental models compared with rivals – namely, a W12 engine that lacks character.

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Comments
10

13 November 2014

Surely a huge leap backwards as Bentley further dilutes its individuality and mores further to become a VW clone. What next? A nice little front wheel drive Sevwoda? They could use that MQB platform. That'd be lovely and cheap, then. Perfect for a brand moving down. And out.

13 November 2014
pauld101 wrote:

Surely a huge leap backwards as Bentley further dilutes its individuality and mores further to become a VW clone. What next? A nice little front wheel drive Sevwoda? They could use that MQB platform. That'd be lovely and cheap, then. Perfect for a brand moving down. And out.

I'd have thought this was a step forwards using a platform developed by Porsche for it's large saloon over the current one which is for the VW Phaeton. Realistically Bentley already had heavily diluted its individuality and become a VW clone with the Continental and Flying Spur, with the next gen version they look to be setting themselves further away from the more mass produced VAG brands.
You might have a point about a future MQB Bentley, I certainly would rule out VAG trying it!

16 November 2014
hardshoulder wrote:
pauld101 wrote:

Surely a huge leap backwards as Bentley further dilutes its individuality and mores further to become a VW clone . . .

I'd have thought this was a step forwards using a platform developed by Porsche for it's large saloon over the current one which is for the VW Phaeton. Realistically Bentley already had heavily diluted its individuality and become a VW clone with the Continental and Flying Spur, with the next gen version they look to be setting themselves further away from the more mass produced VAG brands . . .

I have to agree with "hardshoulder" . . .

13 November 2014

Somehow I don't think that those footballers, autocrats and scrap metal dealers are going to worry to much about which platform it shares if the badge is visible enough, the seats are sufficiently sumptuous and its price delivers what they want for the money. All makes sense.

13 November 2014
rmcondo wrote:

Somehow I don't think that those footballers, autocrats and scrap metal dealers are going to worry to much about which platform it shares if the badge is visible enough, the seats are sufficiently sumptuous and its price delivers what they want for the money. All makes sense.

You are of course quite right, will anyone care what underpins this, and indeed does it even matter?

13 November 2014
hardshoulder wrote:
rmcondo wrote:

Somehow I don't think that those footballers, autocrats and scrap metal dealers are going to worry to much about which platform it shares if the badge is visible enough, the seats are sufficiently sumptuous and its price delivers what they want for the money. All makes sense.

You are of course quite right, will anyone care what underpins this, and indeed does it even matter?

It matters to me. The next Conti will be a better car, but it won't be a better Bentley. Now it's based on a VW platform and uses VW/Audi engines. Bentley badges, styling and details don't a Bentley make. Next it will be a Porsche platform with a Porsche engine. Still not a Bentley.

14 November 2014

I'm not sure I get where you're coming from, it's not as though this is replacing the top line Bentley's based on the Arnarge's underpinnings, this is one VAG product replacing another, a bespoke platform would make it twice the price or have profit margins that Bentley's parent company couldn't justify. Sadly for Bentley they must either compete in a broader market which means making cheaper products based on someone else's underpinnings or disappear altogether. After all even Rolls uses a BMW platform for their Ghost and Wraith models.

13 November 2014

that it's definitely a step forward, having driven an early Continental i've always felt that it was just a muscle car, brutal pace but felt like trying to maneuver the Titanic around corners and for how vast the car was externally it still managed to feel cramped in the cabin. (i think theres a Doctor Who pun in there somewhere)

Hopefully new looks come with the new platform as well

13 November 2014
lajwii112 wrote:

that it's definitely a step forward, having driven an early Continental i've always felt that it was just a muscle car, brutal pace but felt like trying to maneuver the Titanic around corners and for how vast the car was externally it still managed to feel cramped in the cabin. (i think theres a Doctor Who pun in there somewhere)

Hopefully new looks come with the new platform as well

The Porsche engineering will sort out the dynamics, and hopefully the packaging too. Don't hold your breath on the styling though, Bentley don't have a great track record in that department under VW.

14 November 2014

Yes, it's one VAG "Bentley" replacing another. That's why the only Bentley that interests me is the Mulsanne. Similarly, the Ghost and Wraith do little for me since, as you noted, they're BMWs underneath -- very sad IMO. I like BMWs (rather, I did until they started faking engine sound through the audio speakers), but a Rolls Royce should be a Rolls Royce, not a BMW. These are VERY expensive cars, and that price point they should be their own car rather than be based on another car's platform -- it severely dilutes the specialness of the car, and that ruins it for me. No question they make more money by sharing platforms, but would merely make LESS money rather than actually lose money? I don't know where the price vs volume lines cross, but I'd rather see a higher priced true Bentley underneath the Mulsanne. It's clearly all about maximizing profits (I get that, it's a business) rather than building the most special product they can -- otherwise they wouldn't have built a Bentley on a VW platform and decided to sell 10,000 of them per year. But for me, the desirability is gone and I won't be a buyer.

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