[Update: The new 2011 Bentley Continental GT was officially unveiled, check it out here: 2011 Bentley Continetal GT: official details, photos and specs] Rather than boasting drastic changes, the next Bentley Continental slated for a 2011 launch would simply be a refinement of the current Continental family, which holds the title of bestselling car in the company's history.
The new Continental reportedly would continue to utilize Volkswagen group technologies. While speaking at the launch of the new Mulsanne, Bentley boss Franz-Josef Pfaegen revealed that customers actually don't want to change the Continental as it is widely perceived to be Bentley's Porsche 911. Pfaegen also said that the company will build the Bentley in-house but that it will continue to use VW components. Continued after the jump! Separately, Bentley engineering boss Ulrich Eichhorn had said that the company is looking to reduce the next Continental's weight but won't be akin to the Elise.
The Speed version and the upcoming Continental Supersports, due out later this year, have also had some of their weight taken off. A modified version of the existing W12 engine is said to power the next-gen car. Eichhorn admitted that there was there has been no pressure for the 12-cylinder petrol engine to be retired, adding that there was still scope to produce more power and torque from it, with lower CO2 and improved economy.
Rather than a VW Group dual-clutch 'box, the engine is likely to be mated to a traditional torque convertor automatic gearbox at launch. Eichhorn said that if there had been a dual-clutch 'box available in the group then it would certainly be used but the biggest advantage is with smaller engines. With the torque in a Bentley the way it is, the benefit is less. It is also notable that auto gearbox technology is catching up fast. As a result, the next Continental will have the option of being powered by biofuel. As the company plans to offer a flex-fuel option on all of its cars by 2012, this implies that a diesel Bentley will not be offered in the future.