GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA—The Bentley Continental GT transcends all known automobile definitions and breaks all automotive boundaries. Is it a supercar with ultra-luxury levels of comfort and exclusivity? Is it a British ultra-luxury grand tourer with supercar levels of performance? Is it both?
While some wealthy individuals would have to buy a supercar for that blisteringly fast drive through challenging mountain roads, then switch to an ultra-luxury sedan or coupe for that sublime private jet-like long-distance cruise in utmost comfort, the Bentley Continental GT allows both. (Not that its affluent owners will not have a dozen or so expensive automobiles in their collection already.)
What the Bentley Continental GT certainly is is an immensely capable grand tourer with superlative levels of luxury, performance, style, and exclusivity. It’s not as low-slung as a waist-high Lamborghini, so its improbably high top speed of 333km/h is absolutely jaw-dropping—as is its 0-100km/h acceleration of a mere 3.6 seconds. This is, after all, a huge car that weighs a full two and a half tons.
It may not look as racy as a Murcielago, but the all-new third-generation Continental GT is just as aerodynamic, cutting through the wind with a drag coefficient of 0.29.
All this performance comes from a new and lighter (by 30kgs) twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 engine developing a stunning 635ps and 900Nm of torque. The massively strong powerplant is mated to an all-new dual-clutch 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Matching the stupendous speeds are the biggest brakes ever put on a production car: humungous 420mm front discs (with a whopping 10 pistons inside the giant calipers) and 380mm rear discs.
Driving the car along the beautiful roads of Gold Coast and its surrounding countryside revealed much of the car’s otherworldly qualities—except for its license-revoking speed potential (as we had to follow local road rules and regulations).
The Continental GT allows itself to be driven three ways: Comfort, Bentley, and Sport Mode. While the first and third modes are self-explanatory and serve to deliver the extremes of those two self-described dynamic traits, the Bentley mode turned out to be the best setting for most of our “touring.” This mode lets you experience the car’s phenomenal acceleration and handling while enjoying that fabulous ultra-luxury ride.
Putting it in Sport mode further tightens the handling, reduces body roll, and makes gear changes crisper—without making the car ride harshly. Throttle response is quicker as well—and accompanied by an angrier exhaust note. There is also a Custom Mode that lets you tailor various parameters to your own personal liking. Talk about bespoke. A new, advanced, adaptive chassis uses Bentley’s intelligent 48-volt Dynamic Ride System with three-chamber air suspension to ensure a responsive ride and exceptional handling and refinement in all road conditions. The new system controls ride comfort and lateral roll, cushioning passengers from excessive movement as well as making the car feel effortlessly precise.
The understatedly muscular exterior design, created using an exclusive and revolutionary Superforming technology, results in a lightweight yet stiff, all-aluminum laser-cut body. The engine is positioned further back to improve weight distribution, resulting in astonishingly responsive dynamic performance.
As well as giving the front end of the Continental GT its iconic “face,” the large round headlamps of the Continental GT feature the latest LED Matrix technology that uses a camera to prevent oncoming and leading traffic from being dazzled by the Bentley, even on high beams.
The interior design of the Continental GT is tailored specifically to the modern luxury customer, with unrivaled attention to detail like the beautifully knurled knobs that create a truly special ownership experience. The bespoke cabin seamlessly integrates cutting-edge onboard technology with the finest handcrafted natural materials. The result is an exquisite, harmonized, and genuinely luxurious space.
Offering four seats and improved luggage capacity for real-world usability, the new Continental GT’s sumptuously rich cabin is packed with exquisite details such as a new “diamond in diamond” leather design and hand-polished chrome.
The new Continental GT also showcases major evolutions in Bentley’s unique application of technology. An advanced, fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel and Bentley Rotating Display are among the suite of innovations. The latter features an impressive 12.3-inch touchscreen housed in a three-sided unit, which revolves the veneer panel to reveal either the touchscreen display or three beautiful analog dials.
The available audio systems live up to the overall luxury and technology: there’s a stunning 16-speaker 1,500-watt Bang & Olufsen system and an even more powerful 18-speaker 2,200-watt Naim system with two Active Bass Transducers, eight DSP sound modes. The sound coming out from either system is simply stunning.
Sarah Simpson, regional director of the UK and Asia Pacific of Bentley Motors, said, “The Bentley Continental GT is a model that we are immensely proud of and since the first generation model was launched in 2003, it has become our most successful model in history.”
Designed, engineered, and handcrafted in Britain, the new Bentley Continental GT combines spirited, inspired performance with handcrafted luxury and cutting-edge technology, to create arguably the finest and most compelling Grand Tourer ever produced.