The all-new Bentley Continental GT has taken its first steps ahead of a predicted launch in 2017, and our spy shots prove it will be twinned with the next-generation Porsche Panamera, due in 2016. Our exclusive image shows how the coupé will evolve for its third generation.
Although the black prototype in our grainy spy shots is wearing Porsche bodywork, there are a number of giveaways that this is, in fact, the new Continental GT undergoing early dynamic testing. Most telling is the UK plate, which reveals it’s an ‘unknown’ black Bentley fitted with a 4.0-litre V8 engine. The second is the shortened rear doors, suggesting the four-door layout is a smokescreen, and there’s a three-door coupé underneath.
As we’ve previously reported, the new Continental GT will be based on a shortened version of the same lightweight MSB platform as the new Panamera. As Porsche is leading the development on this new rear and four-wheel-drive architecture, designed for high-performance applications, it will launch the Panamera first in 2016, with the Continental following a year later.
As you can see, Bentley is intent on making the GT its Porsche 911 and not tinkering with the silhouette too much. However, details such as the ‘whisky-glass’ headlamps and the full-width lower grille are likely to be taken from the EXP 10 Speed 6, seen at March’s Geneva Motor Show.
Our prototype photos also prove that a development of the current 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 will be offered across the new Continental GT, GTC and Flying Spur range, as well as a plug-in hybrid for the first time – confirmed by Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley CEO, at last month’s Shanghai Motor Show: “There will be hybrids in the next-generation GT and Flying Spur – it’s a must-have,” he said. “Plug-in hybrids are the solution for us [to reduce CO2 emissions] in the future. It’s a tech that will follow the motor industry for a long time.”
Dürheimer was less keen on pure-electric drivetrains, though, saying: “There is room for pure-electric cars without combustion engines, but they will remain in the niche. For Bentley, it’s not the right thing to do.
“It might change, but as long as the batteries are as heavy as they are, the storage capacity is limited and we don’t have the range of comparable combustion engine cars, then for us it’s not relevant.”
Now read everything we know so far about the upcoming Bentley Bentayga SUV here…