While Bentley certainly focuses on selling their current W12 Speed -- especially versus its incredibly good V8S sibling -- we are focused on the future!
The Panamera basis for the next Continental GT platform is well-known and virtually confirmed in the car business, and has been for years. But will it be a Panamera clone?
Absolutely not. Not one bit of cabin, engines or design anywhere will be in common among the two. Key changes versus the current Conti range are expected to redefine Bentley's Continental GTs to be true supercar-fighters in their performance. They may even snag a new R-Type badge.
A significant bump in top speed is also expected over the current 206-mph Vmax of the current car, which is mostly held back electronically to preserve the tires and cooling systems. While the performance will be shocking in all directions, the Bentley of 2018 will stay a two-door of course. It will keep its four-seat cabin, but will mount drivers in a more formal, slightly higher overall drive position for continuity with the current cars.
Same goes for the design. As we've seen from the EXP10 Speed6 Concept, the next Bentley coupe will be MUCH lower and MUCH meaner overall. Proportions should shift radically toward a cab-backward style, while the hood and beltlines will each sink up to five inches closer to the pavement.
While this is all-new and all-awesome as the next Conti GT's performance basis, the main design themes of Bentley on the 2016 GT range and Bentayga are expected to continue a steady evolution.
So, what might the next Conti GT look like? Here are a few (admittedly silly) renderings to show the direction we hope Bentley takes.
FIRST SET OF RENDERINGS
The rear three-quarter angle shot is perhaps the most telling, and the place where we undertook a long overlay comparison with the legendary 1952 R-Type fastback.
Surprisingly, or not perhaps, the cars do not line up at all in their overall proportions. The current GT's windshield needs to be radically relocated more than a foot behind its current base in the hood. Even after moving the windshield rearward and more vertical, the current car needs a nose stretch to give it Panamera-ish proportions in the dash to axle measurements.
The glasshouse is a big question mark: no one is trying to make a rounded, drooping windowline like the original R-Type. Yes, it pulled it off... but the look is too banal for a supercar Conti GT of 2018.
We've tweaked it in a few different looks, none of which really feel right. But oh well.
Easier to fathom is the roofline, which we sunk in a concave way -- mirroring some of the silhouette of that R-Type inspiration. This will cut rear headroom, but who cares?
The tail is also tricky. It is far too high overall, too blocky and too expressionless for an all-new Bentley of the future.
We've sunken the bumperline, plate holder and trunklid deeper toward the pavement. Once accomplished, a ducktail rear spoiler seems like a solid look and superbly functional change versus the R-Type fastback. While gorgeous, that vanishing fastback roof meeting the rear bumper is not viable aerodynamically.
Also chopped half the volume of the taillamps, extended the diffuser for a quad oval exhaust setup, and extended the sills below the doors for a sportier stance.
A final flourish? The shrouded rear wheel from the R-Type and its world's-fastest fourseater look by Mulliner!
SECOND SET OF RENDERINGS - 2017 Bentley Continental R-Type Renderings
For these, we started with one of the most gorgeous modified Bentleys around: the Vorsteiner bodykit, stance and style. But from here, we went wild. The headlamps are barely a quarter of their current size, but are still round of course.
Secondly, the bodykit in its flowing contrast-carbon intakes up front is made deeper and more pronouced. Lastly, we blew out the grille to a full-frame unit, all dipped in black. This squared-circle intake is more formal, but more stylish at the same time. A huge volume of painted surface still dominates the Bentley nose, thanks to the smaller headlamps moving up toward the leading edge of the hood.
Finally, we lowered the roofline slightly and slightly flared the front wings. The end look is deeply moving, memorable and scary-fast!
VORSTEINER BENTLEY Continental GT