It may take a few years for automobile sales to recover, but that’s not going to stop Bentley from making a few new roll outs. It just may mean a few more of the unseen bits are borrowed from other members of the Volkswagen family (i.e. mass-produced).
By the fall There will be a new version of the Arnage for the Grey Poupon crowd. While we will have no trouble accepting the tester car from Bentley, the new one that will really make news is the replacement for the honey mustard-loving crowd: the Continental.
Bentley makes about 8,000 Continentals per year in two-door (GT), four-door (Flying Spur), convertible (GTC) and high-performance (Speed) models. While this would be considered small batches for more car companies, this is Bentley’s idea of mass production.
The current Continental already shares a platform Volkswagen Phaeton , but the rumor is that the replacement due in 2011 will borrow even more bits from its VW siblings. The Audi A8 seems to be the place where Bentley will start rummaging for this car. This will likely result in a longer car that uses more aluminum components.
Between the Audi parts, and possibly some lessons learned building the Continental Supersports , the total weight savings should be about 400 lbs.
The next Continentals should be faster not only from less weight, but also more power. W12 engine could be raised from 552 hp in the standard car to 580 hp and 515 lb-ft of torque. For the Speed models the output will be raised to from 600 hp to 650 hp.