Development of the next generation Bentley Continental GT is underway and if these “spy” photos are to be believed, then what we are seeing is a running development mule for Bentley’s top selling car.
It is understood that the next generation Porsche Panamera and the third generation Continental and Flying Spur will ride on the same platform. Now that the relationship between VW-owned Porsche and Bentley has been sorted out, it makes more sense that Porsche and Bentley are collaborating on a platform that both companies can use. Doing so saves costs but still allows them to bolt on their own suspension and drivetrains to deliver the characteristics their customers desire.
According to AutoExpress, the car pictured above is a next generation Continental disguised to look like a Panamara. They state that the telltale signs are the old body work and the shortened rear door. This development mule was reported to be running the 4.0l V8 from the current Continental GT.
Nothing has been officially acknowledged by Bentley, but it’s believed that the next Continental will carry over this generation’s engine options in the form of Bentley’s all new, lighter W12 and the 4.0l twin-turbo V8 options, along with a hybrid option that has yet to be unveiled. The new Continental will remain all-wheel drive and will mostly likely carry over the current generation’s 40/60 front to rear power distribution.
The rest of the current Continental’s elements are expected to be in the third generation when it’s unveiled including 2+2 seating, luxurious materials throughout the cabin, and an evolution of the current car’s classic coupé shape. We do expect Bentley to focus on using new materials to lighten the car over the previous generation and we also expect the price to jump over the current model. With the current timeline being discussed for the Speed 6, which we think will ride on the same platform as the next Continental, we are probably looking at 2018 or ’19 model year for the Gen III Continental GT.