We hear: Juicy gossip from the CAR grapevine, CAR+ October 2015

Published: 16 September 2015

► Juicy gossip from the CAR grapevine
► Here’s what we’ve been hearing this month
► The world’s gone SUV mad 

Bentley should smash the 15,000 units barrier next year, thanks to the Bentayga SUV’s 3600 projected sales. While it launches with a W12 , we hear three other powerplants will grow volume further: 4.0 V8 petrol and diesels, plus a plug-in hybrid mated to a V6 or V8. 

In 2016, the facelifted Mulsanne arrives, with an enhanced grille, restyled headlamps and bumper intakes. Just 50 to 100 Gran Cabrios may follow in 2017.

But the main event is the next-gen Continental GT, to be unveiled in 2017. Adopting the Porsche-engineered MSB platform does wonders for the handling, with its front/mid-engined layout. Weight, rigidity and crash protection all improve. The engine line-up will grow with the Bentayga’s diesel and plug-in options. It should be a looker too, styled by Luc Donckerwolke, who we hear will resurface at Hyundai-Kia to replace Peter Schreyer in time. 

And what of the beautiful Speed 6 concept? The plan is to launch the two-seater in 2019, powered by a 600bhp twin-turbo V8. A roadster would follow, then the next twinkle in the brand’s eye: a Macan-sized SUV.

JLR Special Vehicles unit bringing more hardcore Land Rovers to the forefront

Talking of SUVs, JLR’s Special Vehicles unit will also make more hardcore Land Rovers, to complement its go-faster Range Sport SVR. They’ll be badged SVX, and whispers suggest eagle-eyed Bond fans will be able to spot the badge on a Defender in the new Spectre film.

Finally, it’s an all-out Astra offensive at Vauxhall. Does that mean the red-hot VXR is imminent? Sounds like a successor to the 280bhp hooligan hasn’t been signed off yet. A cooking Astra, with a 2.0-litre turbo turned up to around 250bhp to bother Seat’s lower-powered Leon Cupra, is nailed on for 2016. Expect it to draw the GSi badge out of retirement.