Bentley sprang a surprise at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, unveiling a new two-seater, front-engined concept coupe that, if it is given approval by the Volkswagen board, will sit alongside the Continental 2+2 coupe. “This is not ‘Continental Lite’ or a cheaper model than what we have already,” emphasized Rolf Frech, Member of the Board for Engineering.
Although it isn’t based on a particular platform, Frech said Bentley “oriented itself” on the MSB platform that would underpin a future Continental as well as the next-generation Porsche Panamera. “The idea behind the car was: we have four models, what is Bentley’s future? So we thought we could widen the range with a driver-oriented luxury sports car.”
It would be powered by Bentley’s 4.0-L V8, but developed into a plug-in hybrid. As to what the precise battery and electric motor will be used, it “depends on what technology is available at the time” said Frech, who confirmed that it would be a front-mid engined layout with the electric motor sandwiched between the V8 and transmission.
Frech added that both rear- and four-wheel drive are under consideration, “This platform offers the possibility of a ‘hang-on’ system, and maybe there are derivatives that could make the car more agile with rear-wheel drive.
“When we go for these concepts, we are already thinking about derivatives,” was all Frech would say when asked about the possibility of a convertible version as well. But if you consider how Bentley has developed its Continental range, then that, surely, sets the template for the new addition to the Bentley lineup.
Although it was well received in Switzerland, the car will be "cliniced" around the world in Bentley’s major markets before a decision is finally taken, but Frech would not be drawn on when that might be.
“This is not a concept car, but one where all the technical hard points have been engineered, maybe the roof will be a bit higher but, basically, these are the car’s proportions.
“We’re talking about 3750-3970 lb. It will be a hybrid aluminum-steel structure, but thinking (about lightweight structures) it would be more oriented towards carbon fiber closing panels.” The final decision will be determined by production numbers. Frech voiced confidence that carbon fiber production techniques will have sufficiently improved by the time the car is launched for the car to feature a substantial amount of the material.