British publication Autocar is reporting that Bentley is gearing up to reveal a new two-seat, front-engine GT car to take on the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari. The UK-based automaker will pull the sheets on the new concept at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March.

The high-performance sports car is rumored to be packing a 500-horsepower, 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 from Audi. A more powerful version might also be in the works, with enough muscle to motivate the luxury vehicle to a 200-mph top speed, much like the Continental GT Speed. Pricing is expected to start between $184,000 and $215,000, with delivery anticipated sometime in 2018.

The new concept coincides with the upcoming Bentayga crossover, which comes with a price tag of $220,000, making it the most expensive SUV on the market. According to Bentley’s CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, the marque may also expand its lineup with a new model to fit between the Continental Flying Spur and the Mulsanne.

If the new concept makes it to production, Autocar reports that it would most likely be based on the Volkswagen Group’s MSB flexible architecture, with a front/mid-engine layout and performance tricks gleaned from Bentley’s experience in GT3 racing.

Click past the jump to read more about Bentley’s future concept car.

Why it matters

With this new 200-mph sports concept in its lineup, the ultra-premium brand would have the right stuff to target performance icons like the Aston Martin Vantage and possibly even the Ferrari 458. More known for creating relaxing cruisers than track-crushing performance vehicles, Bentley is obviously trying to step a bit out of its comfort zone, with the Bentayga SUV, due out next year, slated as the first step in that evolution.

Should this concept make the cut, I would expect the Continental GT Speed to then take the reins as high-speed tourer, with the new concept aimed more toward corner slicing. I’m not talking about something as hardcore as the limited-edition Continental GT3-R, but definitely a vehicle comfortable in some twisty bits.

Bentley Continental GT Speed

2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior
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Like this new concept, the Continental GT Speed first broke cover at the Geneva Auto Show. Crafted as the fastest production Bentley ever made, the Continental GT Speed uses a 6.0-liter W-12 engine with 626 horsepower and 605 pound-feet of torque to reach 60 mph in four seconds flat and a top speed of 206 mph. Putting the power down is the same ZF automatic transmission with eight gears seen throughout the Bentley lineup.

Wheel-mounted paddle shifters can be found in the cabin, as can many cow’s worth of premium, diamond-quilted leather. Wood and metal trim enhance the elegance, while the seats are wide and extremely comfortable. The equipment list is long, expensive and widely varied, including things like jewel fuel- and oil-filler caps, adaptive cruise control, and massage/ventilated seats.

Outside, the two-door layout combines sleek style with bold performance intentions. The iconic Bentley front fascia sits astride a new, more striking body kit, and 21-inch wheels are tucked underneath boosted fender flares. Chrome “Speed” badging and red-painted brake calipers finish it off. Pricing starts at $234,400.

Source: Autocar

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