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By the time Bentley had finished proliferating its initial Continental line, first offered as a coupe for 2004, no fewer than eight models were on the docket, including convertible and sedan body styles with 552-hp 12-cylinder engines, 600-hp "Speed" versions of all three, and for coupe and ragtop models, lighter Supersports versions with 621 hp. Now, with the second-generation Continental GT coupe on sale around the world, the rollout of variants is set to commence, and the two-door Speed, caught here by our wily spy photographers, looks like it's in the hole. (We have it on good authority that the regular-grade GTC will appear next, at this fall's Frankfurt show.)

Stealth Speed

Only two places on the exterior—the pinched tailpipes and the deeper, three-section lower front fascia—give away this car's identity as the next speedy Conti. We expect this to be true of the production model, too, as the first-gen Speeds were similarly indistinguishable from the base models. The previous Speeds also featured upsized, thin-spoke wheels (which owners often swapped out for aftermarket pieces), so don't expect to see these five-spoke 20-inchers, which are the base wheel on the standard Continental GT, to be the production footwear. Also worth noting is that the air suspension of this prototype seems to be jacked up to its Moab setting; the last-gen Speeds rode roughly half an inch lower in their standard setting than their non-Speed counterparts, and we expect this trait to carry over.

More Speed

And so it seems that beneath the sheetmetal is where the big differences will be found. While Bentley won't tell us much about the next Speed's powertrain, the previous model added about nine percent more power and 15 percent more torque over the base trim's twin-turbocharged W-12. If similar math is applied to the 2012 Continental GT's higher-output W-12, with its 567 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the Speed will pack around 621 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, which coincidentally is the same output as the 2010–2011 Continental Supersports (a car that's still in production). Go figure. Also worth noting is that the base Continental GT shed some 143 pounds for 2012, and we expect the Speed to maintain that weight loss, if not shed even more. As in every Continental model, power will be routed through an all-wheel-drive system.

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