Rumors are swirling around the internet this week of a new hot Continental GT. Perhaps inspired by the Bentley Speed 6 Concept that is in New York this week or perhaps leaked by someone in the know, it seems very likely that we will see a new hot performance oriented Continental GT sometime soon.
First let’s refresh your memory on the Continental GT3-R, Bentley’s hottest performance car to date. The GT3-R was a 2014 model based on the Continental GT, but inspired by the Continental GT3 race car. It was available only in white and only 300 copies were made. The car was very well received with it immediately selling out.
While the reviews on their car were overall very impressed with package, there existed many in the media and the automotive community that thought the potential was there for even more performance. Reviews were complementary of the lower rear gear ratio, which made it the quickest Bentley ever produced, but also critical of the car’s weight, a popular criticism. Specifically, Bentley retained the Continental GT’s all wheel drive system for the GT3-R and, while lighter than the GT, the car was still heavy by sports car standards.
And here is where this rumor makes complete sense to me. Look at their sister company, Lamborghini, who stuck with all wheel drive for years with the Gallardo before finally releasing a light weight version in rear wheel drive. The car sold like crazy and what was supposed to be a limited edition to honor their test driver because a regular production model.
To this author, it’s not a question of if for Bentley, it’s when. They need to produce this car. The time is right to leverage their rapidly expanding fleet of race winning GT3 race cars and make a world class sportscar. Make it lighter, with a SuperSports like interior, with a tweaked version of the V8 S’s twin turbo 4.0l, and keep the lower gear ratio. I’m not sure why Bentley wants all of their cars to break 200 mph, but I’d much rather get to 100 in as little time as possible. Outside of the reporter pool, the cars only very rarely see those speeds anyway.
It’s going to be a busy year for Bentley. Sales are expected to reach new highs and they will debut the all new Bentayga SUV this fall, most likely at Paris. On top of that, I’m sure they’ll be announcing several more special editions of their model range. Will we see the quickest Continental GT yet? Or could we see the Speed 6 concept get a green light? Stay tuned to this Bentley Blog for the latest Bentley news.
Autocar got a quote from Bentley’s head engineer Rolf Frech, who said, “A lot of people expected the GT3-R to be a proper rear-wheel-drive sports car, but the problem was timing. We needed the car at the end of the first season of our GT3 racing car, and to do a proper change of the complete powertrain needed longer than we had. But we have the concept in our mind, so why not?”
So there you go. Bentley did consider it at the time, but it sounds like marketing forces outweighed the time engineering needed to properly outfit the new car. I hope it appears as the lightest Continental GT built and I hope buyers will be able to choose their own colors.
The Continental GT3-R