Bentley Plans Lighter Continental GT Version For 2016
If you thought the Continental GT3-R was the ultimate Bentley sports car, you thought wrong, because an even more extreme version of the model is coming in 2016. According to Bentley’s head of engineering, Rolf Frech, the upcoming GT3-R-like Continental will have a rear-wheel-drive layout and be lighter than the original model.
"A lot of people expected the GT3-R to be a proper rear-wheel-drive sports car," Frech told Autocar, "but the problem was timing. We needed the car at the end of the first season of our GT3 racing car, and to do a proper change of the complete powertrain needed longer than we had. But we have the concept in our mind, so why not?" he continued.
The model is to become the first road-going Bentley in over two decades to go under 4,400 pounds, most of the weight loss resulting from the RWD conversion. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 that should deliver more than the 572 horsepower of the GT3-R, the relatively lightweight Continental will likely be faster but a tad less controllable. The usual Bentley design features and interior trim will be kept to a minimum, similar to the Porsche 911 GT3 or Aston Martin GT12 in terms of comfort. There is no confirmation regarding the number of cars to be built, but the hardcore Continental is expected to be part of an extremely limited run and cost even more than the GT3-R.
Continue reading to learn more about Bentley’s future rear-wheel-drive Continental.
Why it matters
Personally, I’m not much of a fan of lightweight Bentleys. A lightweight Bentley still weighs about the same as a modern luxury car, so the "lightness" is relative. And heavy weight and comfort are what makes a Bentley what it is, so why would the company change its successful formula? Ettore Bugatti said Bentleys were "the world’s fastest lorries" for a reason, and the weight and sheer brute force are part of the brand’s DNA.
Despite all of the above, a sportier Bentley can only mean something good, whether the added sportiness comes from more power, less weight or a combination of the two. The 300 Continental GT3-Rs sold like hot cakes, so imagine how an even more hardcore version will fare. The only mystery revolves around how Bentley engineers will modify what is essentially a front-wheel-drive platform from the early 2000s into a RWD GT3 car for the road, but I have faith in them.
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