Time to focus on something a little less exciting.
A Bentley is the pinnacle of British performance in a luxury setting. The brand has a long history of racing prowess and has tried to embody that in the 21st century with numerous go-faster versions of its most popular offering, the Continental. Its latest version of the Continental GT Speed is something special, with its 6.0-liter turbocharged W12 engine producing a whopping 650 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. But if you were waiting for a more powerful version to arrive, you may have to curb your enthusiasm. According to company insiders, the third generation of the luxury coupe has already reached its climax, with no more powerful versions to follow. Why? Because Bentley's focus has changed.
Autocar reports that, for this generation, there will be no Continental Supersports model, nor will there be another version of the limited-edition GT3-R. For the record, this is not due to a lack of demand. Instead, Bentley's bigwigs are changing the company's focus towards gasoline-electric derivatives in order to help reduce the brand's overall carbon footprint and broaden the Continental GT's appeal.
Head of engineering Matthias Rabe says that there is "some interest in an electrified GT from Bentley customers who live in metropolitan areas and will need a car capable of zero-emissions running to drive in new clear-air zones." Thus, instead of spending money on developing one last hurrah for the W12 or the V8, Bentley is trying to get a jump start on its plans to fully electrify its range by 2030.
Thus a plug-in hybrid version of the Continental is the focus now, possibly with a V8 hybrid system similar to that of the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, or perhaps something a bit more special to rival the powertrain of the new GT 63 S E Performance from Mercedes-AMG. While it seems obvious that a V8 hybrid is the way to go, Bentley needs to offer something that its buyers will snap up, and the W12 is still the favorite engine of most key markets.
So why not offer a hybrid alongside a runout special celebrating internal combustion? Well, these runout specials typically arrive at the end of a car's life cycle, and when the current Continental is ready to retire, Bentley will have already started adapting to building electrified models. It just doesn't make sense financially or for the brand's image. So appreciate the GT Speed, it's the best and most focused Continental you'll be able to buy.