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Bye bye W12, hello V8 hybrid for the new Bentley Continental

new Bentley Continental

With a reveal just around the corner but details already emerging, Aaron Stokes looks through the camouflage of the upcoming Bentley Continental GT.

June is set to show us the fourth-generation of the Bentley Continental GT. With the new model, we are going to see some of the biggest changes since its introduction over  20 years ago.

The new Continental GT will be waving goodbye to the iconic 6-litre twin turbo W12. Taking its place will be an all new ‘ultra performance V8 hybrid’. This means there will be a power boost for the Continental with it now having 771 bhp and 737 lb ft (1,000 Nm) of torque from this new powertrain. On electric power alone, you can expect 50 miles of electric range, which for the size and weight of the Continental, I would say that is not bad at all.

Alongside this, as with most new car and model announcements, ‘exciting words’ are used to describe the changes. Bentley is no exception, ‘electrocharging’ is used to describe how the hybrid system is used. Is this necessary? Honestly, I don’t think so. For me personally, it almost makes Bentley sound like they’re trying to make the Continental a supercar, when in reality, it sits in the sweet spot of luxury and performance. 

Naturally, increasing the power of the Continental will need work to the chassis to make sure it can handle all of the new power. To do this, Bentley has included active all wheel drive with torque vectoring, four-wheel steering, an electric Limited Slip Differential, electric active anti-roll control and new advanced dual-valve dampers. All these changes will work in harmony to help the Conti make full use of its increased power.

new Bentley Continental
new Bentley Continental

The new powertrain will now take the W12’s position at the top of the model range. A reduction in cylinder count and capacity was inevitable for the new flagship powertrain, but this is not all bad news. The new V8 hybrid arrangement will boast the highest output ever seen in a Bentley. As a result, Bentley says this new set up is ‘befitting a new generation of daily supercars’.

While I personally don’t view the Continental GT as a supercar - I think the clue is in the last part of its name - the new power and chassis changes coming with the new model could change this. We’ve recently seen Aston Martin crowning the new DB12 as the world’s first Super GT so could the mixture of supercar performance levels with the style and space of a grand tourer be Bentley’s way of one-upping their rivals from Oxfordshire? It would be rather brave of them to pivot the focus of their comfortable continent-crushing GT towards driving dynamics first and foremost, but given that the definition of a supercar is constantly changing, I could well see myself eating my words and calling the new GT a supercar.

Looking at the limited images Bentley provided of the new car in its camouflage, it looks like they’ve decided to go for more subtle exterior changes rather than the changes they made for the third generation; the fourth generation looks to be refining rather than redesigning. All of us at Rush agree that this is the right decision, as the third generation Continental is one good looking GT.

While we are eagerly awaiting to see the camo taken off, in the meantime we can admire the Batur Convertible, which is described as a preview for its future design language. If that is the case, I cannot wait to see how this translates to the new Bentley Continental GT. Luckily, we only have to wait until June for the camouflage to come off.

new Bentley Continental


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