Hybrid Continental GT confirmed

Upcoming GT, Bentayga and Flying Spur plug-ins will be joined by new electric model

Conti GT: hybrid version on the way

The Bentley Continental GT will be one of three models from the car maker to get hybrid powertrains within the next three years, confirmed boss Wolfgang Dürheimer.

A V6 PHEV from the Bentayga has already been scheduled for next year, and will be followed by plug-in hybrids for the Continental GT and Flying Spur.

The Continental, which made its public debut at Frankfurt, is expected to use the same hybrid powertrain as the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with which it shares a platform. In the Panamera, the hybrid’s overall system output is 456bhp and 516lb ft. The Continental GT Hybrid is expected to offer 31 miles of electric-only driving range.

The hybrids will sit alongside the existing W12 and V8 conventional engines.

Dürheimer said that while the combustion engine “is not gone”, there will be a new era of diversity in powertrains including electric and hydrogen. For Bentley customers, however, plug-in hybrids are the solution, he commented, with price “not an ultimate priority”.

Alongside the forthcoming hybrid variants, Bentley will also launch an electric standalone model by 2020. This will become the fifth model in the brand’s line-up.

Dürheimer has previously told Autocar that this model would be either a SUV to sit below the Bentayga or a two-seater electric sports car based on the EXP12 Speed 6e concept shown this year at the Geneva motor show.

Asked last week whether a decision had been made, he said: “What I can say is that a small SUV is no longer [in the strategy]. We’re favouring a car with a full electric powertrain.”

However, given that it will share a platform with the upcoming – and larger – Porsche Mission E, the belief is that the electric sports car will be bigger than the EXP12 Speed 6e concept.

Dürheimer said: “We intend to be the leader in electrification in the luxury segment. We see that it fits into the Bentley scheme – low-rev torque with seamless acceleration.”

RACHEL BURGESS