It's well known that Porsche is leading the development of the Volkswagen Group's MSB flexible architecture. Developed specifically for front-engine, rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles, MSB will form the basis of the new Panamera.
Unnamed sources who have spoken to Autocar magazine indicate that Bentley's next-generation Continental coupe and convertible, and Flying Spur sedan, will also be MSB-based. This means that MSB has now been engineered to handle a 12-cylinder engine.
Porsche is also reportedly working on a new set of V6 and V8 petrol engines for the next-gen Panamera. Diesel motors for the new car will continue to be supplied by Audi, albeit with Porsche tuning. A hybrid, of some description, is reportedly also on the agenda.
Automated dual-clutch (PDK in Porsche-speak) and manual transmissions will be offered, although the latter is likely to remain a Europe-only proposition. Bentley may stick with torque converter automatics in deference to the company's image.
The British magazine's sources also indicate that a Panamera coupe and convertible have been factored into the car's design, but no development money nor firm plans have yet been laid down.
Michael Mauer, Porsche's head of design, told Car Advice last month that "the next generation [Panamera] will be a typical Porsche, a typical Panamera, but it will look better".
Changes are expected to include a "faster" roof line, a sleeker hatchback design, more heavily creased body panels and haunches over the rear wheel arches. On the inside, the new Panamera will be decluttered, with many functions moving to the car's touchscreen display.
Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche's research and development chief, told Autocar that "weight is our enemy and we are looking for the same percentage of aluminium as on the new 911".
The new Panamera will also feature magnesium and multi-phase metals in order keep weight in check, and within the 1800kg to 1900kg range of the current car.