Bentley is contemplating adding a new entry-level model to its premium line-up, according to a UK report.
Car magazine claims the "small" four-door coupe would sit below the existing Continental GT (pictured below) and provide Bentley with a rival to the likes of the BMW M6 Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG.
According to the publication, plans for the new car – intended for a 2018 release – came out of a board meeting earlier this year that focused on the marque's range development out to 2020.
Whether the baby Bentley will be a stand-alone model or part of the Continental range is still unknown, however, as it apparently will be a sportier, more dynamic model than present luxury-biased offerings.
The Crewe-based firm also reportedly sees the new model as having the potential to become its biggest volume seller with 5000-6000 units per year. The report suggests European pricing of around 125,000 to 150,000 euros ($180,000 to $215,000) – in Australia the 373kW/660Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 Continental GT starts at $370,000.
To be based on Porsche’s MSB architecture set to underpin the 2015 Porsche Panamera, the Bentley could be offered in either rear- or all-wheel drive and be almost 450kg lighter than the current Continental GT’s platform.
"But we were looking at the big picture, for 2020 and beyond, when the brand will need a more flexible platform to underpin a Mulsanne successor,” a high-ranking Bentley official told the publication.
“And it allows us to keep dreaming about a small Bentley. By small I mean sub-five metres, but only just."
Power is rumoured to come from front/mid-engined petrol and diesel engines – possibly including a new 3.0-litre V6 and a 4.0-litre V8 – incorporating turbocharging and cylinder deactivation technology.
Provided it’s given the production green light, the new entry-level model will join the third-generation Continental GT and Mulsanne and a 12-cylinder SUV that aims to combine up to 485kW with Range Rover-matching off-road capability in what is promised to be "the world’s most expensive and luxurious SUV".
A hybrid version of the Flying Spur, Bentley's fastest and most powerful sedan, is also rumoured for 2015 as part of the expanded line-up.