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All-new 2018 Bentley Continental GT spied hours before world debut

Published: 29 August 2017

► New 2018 Bentley Continental GT
► Structure shared with Panamera
► Latest spyshots of Conti GTC too

Just hours before the new Bentley Continental GT is revealed in its third generation, our spy photographers have caught the new luxury GT without its previous ‘prototype black’ wardrobe.

Stay tuned to CAR's website for the full official photographs of the new Conti GT later on 29 August 2017.

These lightly disguised scoop photos follow earlier spyshots of a blue car cold-weather testing.

What do these pictures tell us about the new Bentley Continental GT?

The plastic shrouding has been discarded, revealing much of the Conti's fundamental styling. There are still false headlight and Audi-style tail-light graphics, 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, shown in our gallery above, have been camouflaged with further plastic elements over the real bodyshell.

Bentley Continental 2017

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 (below), particularly in the mooted placement of the headlights and lower-lying grille.

The Bentley Speed Six: its influence is now being felt on new 2018 Continental GT

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

Bentley Continental 2017

By James Taylor

CAR's online editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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