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Bentley Continental GT to get plug-in hybrid V8

The next-generation Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur will utilise Porsche hybrid technology

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley is to axe the pure-combustion versions of its Continental and Flying Spur models this summer, replacing them with a new V8 plug-in hybrid powertrain described by company boss Adrian Hallmark as “our biggest launch in five years”.

The British luxury brand had already announced that production of its iconic W12 engine will cease in the coming months. But speaking to reporters as Bentley announced another strong set of financial results for 2023 (13,560 cars delivered, with a profit of around £502m), Hallmark revealed that a “refresh” of the Continental line-ups – both GT coupe and Flying Spur saloon – would bring a major shift in powertrains, in line with Bentley’s electrification goals.

“We said that we’d get to this middle phase, beyond internal combustion engines, where all of our cars are partially electrified,” Hallmark said. “So from after the middle of this year, we’ll be launching high-performance hybrids in the Continental GT and Flying Spur. Right now, 25 per cent of our order bank is made up of hybrid demand, for Flying Spur and Bentayga. And when we move to a new V8 PHEV in the Conti and Flying Spur, we expect that to be massively increased.”

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Hallmark declined to discuss specs, but said, “We’re not going purely for the economy of the PHEVs; we’ll talk later about power and performance figures, and the effective electric range, but there will be a step change from what you see today. Our performance hybrids will set new standards.”

However, we can assume Bentley will look to its Porsche stablemate and possibly base its set-up around the Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid’s V8 plug-in. Combined, this powertrain produces 671bhp and allows the executive saloon to accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds.

There are no immediate plans for the V8 PHEV to be installed in the Bentayga, which uses a different platform from the MSB architecture-based Continental models. But the twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid will continue to be offered: “The V6 stays,” Hallmark said, before suggesting that plug-in Bentayga will remain a feature of the line-up until 2026.

Like many brands, Bentley has noticed increased interest in plug-in electrification over the past 12 months. But technical issues have forced the firm to nudge back its plans for pure-electric vehicles; the first Bentley EV will now arrive in 2026, not 2025 as planned, and while the target of five all-electric models remains, Hallmark admitted that this process will now run through until 2031, a year later than originally stated.

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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