Lighter luxury coupé and convertible is based on the latest Porsche Panamera’s platform; interior inspired by the Bentayga

The next-generation Bentley Continental GT will get the same W12 engine as the Bentley Bentayga SUV to increase its power output to 600bhp.

Spotted testing in the UK ahead of its launch early next year, the new GT will get an evolved look that's inspired by the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept first seen at the 2015 Geneva motor show.

Although it's camouflaged, these are the clearest images of the GT's new styling includes a lower front and rear, headlights and rear lights, as well as shorter overhangs and a shorter wheelbase.

It is also our first glimpse of what the new Continental will look like inside, and as expected it has borrowed much of its switchgear from the Bentayga, including the gearlever and steering wheel.

The infotainment system is likely to have the same as 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 and its convertible sibling, the GTC, are based on a new platform called MSB, which has been co-developed with Porsche.

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

Like the firm’s 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.

This change is part of a weight 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.

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 grow beyond the 521bhp of the current S model.

There will also be a petrol V6 plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which will use a set-up that develops 410bhp in today’s Porsche Cayenne PHEV.

It’s 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, standalone 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 is 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 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
15

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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