• Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: Bentley
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: Bentley
  • Image Credit: Bentley
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: James Lipman
  • Image Credit: Bentley
Coupe, convertible or Flying Spur sedan: no matter what body-style you get, or what engine you specify, the Bentley Continental comes with all-wheel drive. It's been that way since the model line was first introduced a dozen years ago. But that looks poised to change... at least for one notable exception.

According to Autocar, Bentley is all but certain to launch a rear-drive version of the Continental GT3-R sometime next year, ditching the front half of the drivetrain to cut a good 440 pounds off the curb weight to make it the lightest Conti yet.

The Continental GT3-R launched last year with less weight and more power, along with a stiffer suspension, upgraded brakes and a titanium exhaust. It drew its inspiration from the Continental GT3 racer, but unlike the competition version, kept the AWD drivetrain in place.

"A lot of people expected the GT3-R to be a proper rear-wheel-drive sports car," Bentley's chief engineer Rolf Frech said to Autocar, "but the problem was timing. We needed the car at the end of the first season of our GT3 racing car, and to do a proper change of the complete powertrain needed longer than we had. But we have the concept in our mind, so why not?"

Denuded of its all-wheel drive, the Conti GT3-RS – assuming Porsche doesn't mind lending the name to its sister company – would be the most hardcore version of the go-to luxury coupe, and would promise to cut its already blitzkreig 3.6-second 0-60 time down even further. Especially if the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 were tuned to deliver even more than the 572 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque it already kicks out in the existing GT3-R.

Chances are it'd be even less accessible, though: the 99 examples of the Conti GT3-R that are coming to the States out of the 300 total to be made already carry a $337k sticker price, and the rear-drive model would likely push the production:price see-saw even higher to the right.


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