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Car and Driver: Next Bentley Continental To Debut Next Year, Will Be Lower and Edgier


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2016 Bentley Continental GT V8 SMore details of the new Bentley Continental have emerged ahead of its debut late next year. Indeed, we’ve actually seen images of the car, albeit very quickly and in a video presentation that Bentley showed us during a briefing about its future design direction. Sadly, despite begging, we can’t share that with you, nor were we allowed to take pictures, so we’ve dropped in an image of the current car.


To judge from those fleeting frames, the new Continental is set to be far more dynamic looking than the current model, albeit clearly sharing much of the same DNA. It also looks to be both lower and more muscular. Design work was mostly done under Bentley’s former styling boss Luc Donckerwolke, who has recently moved to Hyundai, and the renderings showed some of the same edgy character he gave to the Murciélago and Gallardo during his time at Lamborghini, with both coupe and cabriolet versions looking ripped. We also noticed a ‘12’ logo on an air intake set into the trailing edge of the front wing, confirming our recent report that the Conti will offer both V-8 and W-12 configurations.


Stefan Sielaff, Bentley’s newly arrived design director, confirmed the new car is a far more radical step than the first Continental GT’s refresh for 2011, which hid some substantial changes behind near-identical styling.


“Sometimes it’s easier to do a next-generation model than a whole-new model,” he told us at the event in London. “You have to carry over certain ingredients from the old generation from an aesthetic point of view, but we also need to make a clear step, not doing something too small so everybody says it is a facelift. It will be obvious that the new car is the next generation; I would say that the job Michael Mauer does at Porsche is a good example; you can tell the 911 is new, but you can also immediately tell it is a 911.”




We can tell you about the new Conti’s headlights, with insiders confirming that they will be very similar to the “whisky glass” units that were shown on the EXP10 Speed 6 concept last year; indeed we got a look at some prototypes that featured ‘progressive animation,’ with more of the light’s elements illuminating as the keyholder got closer and then turning fully on with the ignition. We also learned that some interior trim is likely to be 3D-printed in metal as this will both eliminate tooling costs but also allow patterns and designs that would be impossible to create any other way. Anticipate a steady drip-feeding of information ahead of the car’s official debut, probably at next year’s Frankfurt auto show.


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