Bentley likely to offer new variants of the Continental and Mulsanne

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 27, 2011

In order to help it parent company, Volkswagen Group, become world’s largest car manufacturer, it appears that Bentley will offer new variants of the Mulsanne and the Continental. According to Autocar, CEO Wolfgang Durheimer confirmed the fact that new variants of the Mulsanne and the Continental are under discussion.

Durheimer said that Bentley could build more of the Continental line up, such as lightweight models and special models. Regarding the Mulsanne, it appears that Bentley gets requests all the time for a longer wheelbase model.

Of course, the clients do receive them, but the British manufacturer needs to see if this model will be officially offered. Also, convertible and coupe versions of the Mulsanne are also considered, according to Durheimer. For those who don’t know, the latest model introduced by Bentley is the 2012 Continental GTC and the official debut was made at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this month.

The vehicle is powered by the same 6.0-liter W12 engine found also on the coupe version and capable to deliver 575PS (567bhp/423kW) and 700Nm (516lb ft) of torque. With these numbers, the car is able to accelerate from zero to 60mph (0-100 km/h) in 4.8 seconds, while the sprint from 0 to 100 mph (0 – 160km/h) is achieved in 10.9 seconds. The maximum speed achieved is 195 mph (314 km/h).

In the automotive industry, certain vehicles are considered as art and have even become icons. This is what made it difficult for Director of Design Dirk van Braeckel and his team as they were tasked with improving one. Looking at the new Continental GTC, it is clear that it was the second-generation of the Continental GT Coupe that served as its inspiration, with the latter being unveiled around a year back to excellent reviews.

The first version of the Continental GTC was discreet yet elegant. With the new model, some of the features now have a contemporary and more modern approach. As such, the new Continental GTC continues to display many of the styling cues that the GT is known for, and thus give its exterior a dynamic, sculpted, and progressive look. This exterior design has long been part of the company’s tradition going as far back as the R-Type Continental of the 1950s.

The latest iteration however provides a new interpretation of this and puts it in the body of a four-seat convertible. Going to some specifics, its composite boot lid has been made transparent to both GPS signals and media, ensuring that the antennae can be hidden inside its structure. It thus gives the exterior a continuous and clean surface, something that is rarely seen in many convertibles. Down on its sides are the haunches which have been made purposeful, much like the ones in the Bentley Mulsanne.

This similarity is continued in the vehicle’s rear considering that the inset wrap-around lamps in the rear have been integrated with a strong double horse-shoe theme. Meanwhile underneath it are the elliptical flared exhaust pipes which cement this new model’s high-performance potential. While the luxurious lines have a familiarity to them, the overall package has been improved considerably. The model is a bit longer, with a track that is wider, and a waistline that is higher.

The waistline in particular narrows slowly to the top and to the back, giving it a more dynamic stance and shallower window graphic. Going to the front, the headlight is still in a standard four-lamp configuration but this time it has a new design and surrounds the matrix radiator grille that is standard of the Bentley. The headlight sports its details like an exquisite jewel and even has those attractive daytime-running lamps that use LEDs.

Still on the front, the wings are more muscular and were manufactured using a method known as aluminum superforming. What happens is that the aluminum is heated to almost 500 degrees Centigrade. It is then shaped through air pressure which results in those distinct sculpted body panels. In addition, since only one aluminum sheet is used for the new Continental GTC, there is no need for any welds or even seams.

Because of this, the design of the coach was enhanced since it became possible to lower the number of shut lines. Without a doubt, the new Continental GTC is an evolution of the original as it displays a crisper and cleaner appearance. It is also sharper and has a more focused design radii while having a confident, sporty, and muscular presence.

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