Currently reading: Bentley considers Panamera rival
Five-door fastback would be added to the next-generation Continental range

Bentley is considering adding a Porsche Panamera-rivalling five-door fastback to the next-generation Continental range.

Sources at the highest level of the Crewe manufacturer say that the firm is considering whether there will be demand for more versions over the coupé, convertible and Flying Spur saloon. A five-door fastback in the style of the Panamera is believed to be the most favoured extra version.

However, a senior source was quick to point out that a large, sporty hatch wouldn’t be at the expense of a traditional four-door saloon, for which there is still huge demand.

Italian styling house Touring Superleggera has plans to sell 20 examples of its coachbuilt Continental Flying Star (pictured), a three-door shooting brake version of the current model. But it’s thought that Bentley would prefer to offer five-door practicality.

The first of the new-generation Continentals is likely to be a replacement for the GT coupé, likely to go on sale in 2012. Previous reports have indicated that it will maintain a four-wheel drive chassis and a 12-cylinder engine going through a traditional torque converter automatic gearbox.

Bentley engineers are also currently working hard to ensure that the next-gen model loses weight over the current version without sacrificing comfort and refinement. Insiders also say that some of the technical modifications given to the current Supersports versions will find their way onto all future Continentals.

Styling isn’t thought to be radically different, though. Bentley boss Franz-Josef Pfaegen has recently referred to the Continental as “our 911”, indicating that a future model will have evolutionary styling.

Chas Hallett

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disco.stu 24 June 2010

Re: Bentley may build Panamera rival

I like the idea - a long, low uber-luxury saloon that doesn't look like a 911-Cayenne cross-breed. And more substantial and satisfying than the Rapide.

The Continental GT was great when it was launched; it would be even better if they could dream up a new idea for its replacement rather than just produce another Conti GT on a new platform.

Chunkster 24 June 2010

Re: Bentley may build Panamera rival

I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do for Bentley. It seems like Bentley, along with all the high end luxury car manufacturers, are niche-huntting and trying to inundate any profitable niche gaps quicker than I can spell the name "Continental Panamera".

What Bentley really needs to decide is whether they can build a better and more appealling Panamera out of the Continental platform. The Porsche Panamera Turbo weighs in at close to 2,000kg and a "Bentley Panamera" based on the Continental platform will mostly likely weigh at least 15% more, dynamically inferior to the Porsche, and not going to be much better looking than the Porsche. I don't think, even the well-heeled and recession-proof Bentley buyers, would want to buy such a 4-door Continental that don't really do anything better than a "cheaper" Porsche. Why not just buy a Panamera Turbo?

WFC Holden 24 June 2010

Re: Bentley may build Panamera rival

If they can sell it they'll do it - business is business - and any legacy these old brands have will be left to the classic car owners to look after.