Bentley Continental GT Speed - Click above for high-res gallery

The Camry for Rich People (AKA the Bentley Continental) is ready for a makeover and, according to Automobile, work is underway on the next iteration of Bentley's volume model. Due to arrive in 2011, the new coupe will reportedly emerge lighter than its predecessor, along with sharing more components with the Audi A8 and possibly packing a diesel drivetrain.

The styling of the new GT is led again by Dirk van Braeckel, so expect an evolutionary design that captures all the cues from the current model and packages them into a more aerodynamic package. With the A8's front suspension employed in favor of the Volkswagen Phaeton's, front overhangs should be shorter, allowing the wheelbase to be stretched. This, along with a wider track and a slightly larger footprint, will allow the interior accommodations – primarily the rear seats and trunk – to grow. An aluminum space-frame is expected to be used in front, with a traditional steel setup in the rear to shave around 400 pounds from the current coupe's curb weight, bringing the final tonnage down to around 4,800 pounds.

Power will be provided by an array of upgraded W12s producing approximately 580 hp and 515 lb-ft of torque in the standard model and 650 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque on the Speed variants. Both models stand to benefit from a eight-speed automatic gearbox, and a 4.2-liter turbo-diesel putting out 374 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque is reportedly in the works. Automobile speculates that a plug-in hybrid could make it to market, assuming lithium-ion batteries are available.

The standard Continental GT should arrive in early 2011, followed by the redesigned Flying Spur in mid-2012, with the GTC convertible coming in late 2013 and the Speed variants arriving in 2015.

[Source: Automobile]

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