As shown by new pictures, the car has been out in public almost completely undisguised. Slim covers do little to hide twin-section headlights and oval-shaped tail-lights, all of which are clearly inspired by the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept first seen at the 2015 Geneva motor show.
The upcoming GT's new look comes alongside hefty upgrades underneath. One of the most interesting is an anti-roll system called Dynamic Ride that can offset body roll to enable flat cornering. It uses electric motors to push the anti-roll bars onto the wheels, pushing the outside wheel down and inside one up. This counteracts the body's roll to improve agility, as Autocar noted during a pre-production drive in July.
Bentley has been pushing the car's anti-roll system to the limit on track at the Nürburgring, as shown by new footage of the car being driven at pace below.
Earlier sightings of the Continental revealed its interior and suggested it has borrowed much of its switchgear from the Bentayga, including the gearlever and steering wheel.
The infotainment system is likely to have the 8.0in screen in Bentley’s SUV - although, unlike the outgoing Continental, it will be positioned higher up the dashboard, with the air vents and Breitling clock placed lower down.
The Continental GT will use Bentley's latest W12 engine, which is shared with the Bentayga SUV, to produce around 600bhp.
The Continental range will be significantly lighter than the outgoing model, Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer has said.
Like the Bentayga, 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.
The change is part of a weight reduction effort that should drop the car substantially below the 2375kg of today’s GT. However, it will not fall below two tonnes, Dürheimer said.
Below the range-topping 6.0-litre W12, which produces 18bhp more than the outgoing W12, an updated version of the current car's 4.0-litre petrol V8 will be offered. The V8's power output is likely to be beyond the 521bhp of the current S model.
It is unlikely that Bentley will offer a diesel V8 option in the Continental, even though the unit is already used in the Bentayga.
Speaking at the Bentayga's launch last 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 production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 sports car that would be among the growing line-up has yet to be signed off. Bentley could also add its first electric car to the list - as previewed by the EXP 12 Speed 6e.
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 Bugatti. Dürheimer added that Lamborghini’s absence from this group “makes no sense”.