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The Bentley Continental is a name used on several generations of luxury automobiles since 1952.

Bentley Continental
Bentley Continental GT (II) – Frontansicht (3), 30. August 2011, Düsseldorf.jpg
2013 Bentley Continental GT (II)
ManufacturerBentley Motors
Body and chassis
Body style4-door sedan
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout


From 1952 to 1965Edit

The 'Embiricos' Bentley by Portout of Paris 1938
acknowledged inspiration for the Continental Bentleys[1]

Following the Second World War, Bentley moved to resume production of civilian automobiles, and its factory was relocated from Derby to Crewe. There, Bentley engineers produced so-called R-Type Continentals for three years, from 1952 to 1955.[2] These were derivatives of the original R-Type, the second series in Bentley's postwar luxury lineup.[citation needed]

The R-Type Continental's chassis was independently produced and sold to custom coach-builders. One of the world's most expensive automobiles,[3] only about 208 R-Type Continentals were built in total.

Following the R-Type Continental, the Continental S1, S2 and S3 were released consecutively beginning in 1955. The S1 was well received, 49 being built.[4][5] The deficiency was addressed on later vehicles, such as the Bentley S1. The S2, unveiled in 1959, debuted with a new L Series V-8 engine,[citation needed] still used in contemporary Bentleys like the Mulsanne. It also incorporated air conditioning and standard power-steering, considered cutting-edge amenities at the time. The S3, for its part, was distinguishable by its "four-headlamps in the front wings."[6]

During the 1950s and early '60s, the Bentley Continental was marketed for its powerful engine and lowered suspensions, thought to improve performance for high-speed touring. The fastback coupe's distinctive angle-free, lightweight design also helped establish its British manufacturers' prosperity for the post-war era.

In 2015 a 1952 R Type Continental, in unrestored condition, sold for over $1 million USD.[7]

The second generation of the Continental ended in 1965 with the introduction of the replacement T Series.[8] The Continental nameplate would not be revived until 1984.

Production TimelineEdit

1952 to 1965Edit

1984 to 2002Edit

With the introduction of the unitary construction Bentley T-series, separate Continental chassis were no longer made available to coachbuilders. The following models were produced through 2002:

2003 to dateEdit

Three versions of the Continental have been sold following Vickers' sale of Bentley to Volkswagen:

Next generationEdit

The next-generation Bentley Continental is scheduled for 2018, and it will include a plug-in hybrid variant. Bentley will borrow the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.[9]

Components for Bentley Continental will be sourced from Volkswagen's plants in Germany and Slovakia, with stampings from Volkswagen's factory in Bratislava. Porsche's plant in Leipzig will be responsible for assembling bodies-in-white, along Porsche's Panamera. Bentley's factory in Crewe will carry out final assembly.[10]


  1. ^ Martin Bennett, John Blatchley Bentley Continental: Corniche & Azure 1951-2002. Martin Bennett, 2010
  2. ^ "History". Bentley Motors. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  3. ^ "1954 Bentley R Type news, pictures, and information". Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  4. ^ Classic Cars, May 2010, page 114
  5. ^ Motorist´s Compendium and Driver´s Almanack, Dec 1959
  6. ^ "Bentley history: Cricklewood, then Derby and for the last 60 years at Crewe". Bentley Media. Archived from the original on 15 May 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Rare Bentley Brings Big Dollars At Auction". Pursuing W.O. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Bentley Continental". Wikicar. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  9. ^ Loveday, Eric (25 February 2016). "Next-Generation Bentley Continental To Get Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain From Porsche Cayenne PHEV". Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  10. ^ Hetzner, Christiaan (11 April 2017). "Porsche, Bentley synergies can help VW Group". Automotive News. Retrieved 12 April 2017.