Even for vehicles with price tags well into the six figures, auto manufacturers can little afford to create low-volume vehicles on a completely bespoke platform. With most ultra-luxury brands owned by larger corporate conglomerates, many exclusive, expensive models share dirty bits with their commuting-class cousins. Anything from Porsche is certainly a cut above a Camry or Jetta, so we were excited when we heard the Autocar report that the next-generation Bentley Continental will share its underpinnings with the Porsche Panamera.
We see this as a positive development, as the Panamera's engine placement further back in the chassis and behind the front axle centerline should considerably improve handling and dynamics compared to the current Bentley Continental's far-forward engine placement. The so-called "MSB" platform will be an evolution of the current Panamera's platform, with greater use of aluminum and high strength steel to keep weight down.
Another advantage of the MSB platform is a simplified electrical architecture that should lower complexity and costs. The MSB is also designed to be a modular platform to support longer, shorter, wider and narrower variants. In addition, MSB is designed to accommodate rear-and all-wheel-drive, and hybrid drivetrains. The first Bentley model based on the new chassis is expected to be the next-gen Bentley Continental due in 2016.