Bentley is keeping itself busy these days at the Nordschleife with prototypes of the all-new Continental GT coupe and its drop-top sibling.
The second generation of Bentley’s grand tourer has been around since 2001, so naturally work is well underway on an all-new model. Our spies located it around the Nordschleife and have been able to spot prototypes of both coupe and convertible body styles masking their real appearances underneath fake body panels.
Look closely and you’ll notice there’s an extra layer on some of the body panels to conceal the real design, which should have a lot in common with the sleek EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. Once those panels and camouflage come off, the new Continental might end up a tad smaller than the current car, or at least that’s our impression at the moment.
The next generation of Crewe’s GT will bring some massive changes underneath the skin. That’s because the new Continental family will switch to the MSB platform shared with the 2017 Porsche Panamera. It will bring along a significant diet boosting not only efficiency, but also performance. The current W12-powered version tips the scales at a hefty 2,320 kilograms (5,115 pounds), so the weight loss is more than welcome.
Since we’ve mentioned the mighty 12-cylinder engine, it’s going to be replaced by Volkswagen Group’s new biturbo 6.0-litre W12 version, which made its debut in the Bentley Bentayga where it has 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. For the sake of comparison, the older and weaker W12 pumps out 582 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque in the outgoing Continental GT. We know for a fact the GTC prototype had the W12 since we've checked the license plate with the U.K.'s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Besides getting the stronger W12, the new Continental GT and GTC are expected to be offered with a biturbo 4.0-litre V8 unit from the latest Panamera Turbo where it’s rated at 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque.
Further down the line, it might also receive the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid’s setup consisting of a biturbo 2.9-liter V6 working together with an electric motor. In the model from Stuttgart, it has 462 hp and 517 lb-ft of torque, so look for something similar if not the same in these new models.
Bentley will likely decide to unveil the coupe in the second half of 2017, with the convertible scheduled to arrive at some point in 2018.
Photos: Automedia, CarPix