The next-generation Bentley Continental GTC convertible has been spied undergoing testing on public roads in Europe.

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Don't expect the production car to feature fenders quite as wide or as flared as this prototype's. It's clear from front and rear track width, that the final version of the Continental will be slightly narrower than this development model.

As with an earlier Continental coupe development vehicle spotted testing in March, only a few production elements are visible on this GTC prototype, including the doors, folding fabric roof, bonnet, windscreen, side glass, and part of the boot lid.

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Aside from the convertible top, the GTC seems to have a flatter rear boot lid than its coupe sibling. The rest of the design, including the EXP10 Speed 6 concept-inspired headlights, should be carried over from the coupe.

While false body panels hide most of the car's styling elements, we can see that the new car has a more classically Bentley set of proportions, as the Continental is moving from the front- and all-wheel-drive Volkswagen Phaeton platform to the Volkswagen Group's new rear- and all-wheel-drive MSB component set.

Developed by Porsche, MSB made its debut underneath the second-generation Panamera, which was unveiled last week.

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As part of the new norm, MSB uses lightweight materials, such as high-strength steel and aluminium, to improve performance and fuel economy. This should reduce the Continental's heft from today's model, which weighs around 2350 kilograms.

Under the bonnet, the new Continental will initially be offered with the brand's W12 petrol engine. Sports and entry-level variants will follow, motivated by a turbocharged V8, while a plug-in hybrid is also said to be in the works.

Rumours suggest that the new Continental GTC will make its debut in the second half of 2017.