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.
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?”