► New Bentley Continental GT due in 2017
► Structure shared with new Porsche Panamera
► Latest spy shots of Continental GTC, too
The Bentley Continental GT is set to move into its third generation in 2017, and is edging closer to a full reveal as our spy photographers capture the upcoming luxury GT without its previous ‘prototype black’ wardrobe.
The blue colour scheme suggests the car spotted cold-weather testing may be a pre-production car rather than a prototype, but it’s still wearing plenty of camouflage.
What do these pictures tell us about the new Bentley Continental GT?
Plastic covers over the front face and front and rear wings hide the production car's shape. There are false headlight and tail-light graphics too, but they can’t hide the light shapes shining beneath.
A retractable rear spoiler has shifted from its position close to the rear window on the current Conti to a more rearward position.
Previously, we’ve seen the black camo-clad coupe and drop-top GTC undergoing winter trials in northern Sweden, and dry-weather testing around the Nürburgring.
Earlier prototypes have been camouflaged with further plastic elements over the real bodyshell.
One thing that’s clear is that the new Conti has grown in size over its predecessor, expanding a little in all directions.
What’s under the skin?
A new modular platform named ‘MSB,’ co-developed by Porsche. The new Conti’s flexible, front-mid engine structure is actually twinned with the latest Porsche Panamera and the next Cayenne in 2017.
Click here for a full review of the latest Porsche Panamera
The Continental may be offered with the same hybrid powertrain as the new Panamera, alongside an evolution of the existing 4.0-litre V8 engine as base model and a return for the range-topping W12 monster.
There’s also a slim chance that the 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 from the Panamera may also be offered. Of all the prototypes we’ve seen so far, the coupes have all had unspecified engines – according to the DVLA – while the convertible GTC prototype packs the long-established 6.0-litre W12.
A development of the same MSB structure will likely also underpin the Mulsanne successor expected in 2021. And that’s not all…
It reminds me a little of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept from Geneva 2015…
Funny you should say that. There are more than a few proportional similarities to the 2015 EXP 10 Speed 6 concept (driven by Georg Kacher in CAR magazine’s May issue), particularly in the mooted placement of the headlights and lower-lying grille.
But the Speed 6 is itself planned become a production reality alongside the new Continental GT. Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer has gone on the record to confirm a production version of the EXP10 Speed Six for 2020 (and an open-top version for 2021). As the Conti has grown in size, it’s opened up extra space below it for the slightly smaller Speed 6, which will be built on the same modular MSB architecture.
When will the new Bentley Continental GT reach production?
It’s expected to make its debut in late 2017. The current Conti GT has been an enormous success for Bentley, opening the Bentley brand to a whole new audience, selling in far larger numbers than previously and making canny use of VW Group platform-sharing economies of scale. Its successor has big shoes to fill.
See more spyshots from CAR magazine