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Bentley Mulsanne Grand Convertible due in 2017, Speed 6 still in play

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Automobile outlines the near-term future of the Bentley line-up, finding a few items of gold and perhaps one that brand purists will consider a goldbrick. Dealers are taking orders for the the Bentley Grand Convertible, a ragtop Mulsanne introduced at the LA Auto Show last year, and it is expected to reveal its production form sometime late next year on its way to showroom floors by early 2017. Brand CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer said "Mulsanne will get further derivatives," plural. Perhaps that means that with a convertible on its way to reality, a coupe something like a modern Brooklands will follow. A long-wheelbase Mulsanne is in the works, too.

The Grand Convertible will wear the Mulsanne's new face, scheduled for reveal at next year's Geneva Motor Show. Automobile says the front will be "squarer" and the grille "more upright," which we didn't think was possible, and boast "three brick-shaped air intakes," apparently to emphasize the upright squareness. Plus, new headlights.

The third-generation Continental and Flying Spur ranges would come after that, laid atop the MSB platform and rolling out of Crewe over a two-year period starting in 2017. They should still be powered by 4.0-liter V8 and 6.0-liter W12 engines, but the bodywork around those motors will be "both evolutionary and daring." This, then, should be the leap that Bentley wanted to make with the second-generation Continental but couldn't.

Whither the EXP 10 Speed 6? Dürheimer said the customer response has been, "Don't ask us questions, just do it." The last news we had over the summer was that Bentley was deciding whether to expand the line-up next with a small SUV or the Speed 6. It's not clear which will come first, but Dürheimer said, "I'm confident that with EXP10 Speed 6 we will find a good solution," and the business case for it goes to the board a year from now. Automobile suggests it will go on sale in 2020 with a 600-horsepower, twin-turbo V8. That smaller SUV is still on the table, though, an entry-level offering that would use the re-engineered bones of the Audi Q5.

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