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It seems likely that, as it nears the end of its life, the current-generation Bentley Continental will gain a high performance rear-wheel drive variant.

According to Autocar, this sportier version of the Continental will debut in 2016. Under the bonnet it will use a variation of the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 seen elsewhere in the range, but with the wick turned up even further.

Currently that motor produces 426kW of power and 700Nm of torque in the road-going two-seat GT3-R (below), and around 441kW in the company’s GT3 race cars.

The company has a target weight of under 2000kg in mind for this new model. That requires Bentley’s engineers to come up with weight savings of around 200kg. The switch to rear-wheel drive will reportedly shave almost 100kg from the vehicle’s mass.

Lightweight materials, such as carbonfibre, will be used extensively. Expect a skimpy equipment list, as well as an exceptionally limited production run of under 300 units.

Bentley Continental GT3-R front

Speaking to the British magazine, Rolf Frech, chief of engineering at Bentley, said that many had expected, and wanted, the GT3-R to be rear-wheel drive vehicle, but that the timing wasn’t right for the company.

Frech said: “We needed the [GT3-R] 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?”




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