Bentley’s first new Continental GT in 15 years has arrived
The all new Bentley Continental GT W12, has shed almost 30kgs from its predecessor, produces more power than before 626hp as compared to 585hp of the 2nd gen and more torque – now at 900Nm up from 720Nm. Though the engineers were able to reduce weight from the power plant, the overall weight of the Continental GT remains the same as its predecessor as the saved weight has been redirected to more tech and safety enhancements.
Having recently driven the Aston Martin DB11 I can assure you the British know how to build GT’s. With the recent intro of an all-new Aston Martin DB11, it did take the bragging rights for best GT but now the playing field has been levelled out between the two, the new Continental GT and the DB11. I think that merging between German Engineering and British coach building is the key. With Mercedes-Benz supplying the engine for the DB11 and the electronics, the Continental’s Audi inspired W12 married with a re-tuned 8 speed ZF dual clutch transmission the two cars offers similar yet very different takes on what a GT should be.
GT literally stands for “Gran Touring”. While it is common to believe that GT stands for high performance the reality is that a GT should not only have power but it should have comfort in mind. When I say comfort I mean as much isolation from road noise and the outside world as possible. A GT is supposed to devour miles of motorway and at speeds legally allowed but knowing you can get to that cuising speed effortlessly. The GT is all about poise and grace and comfort with amazing looks that will stop you in your tracks. The new Bentley Continental GT that and a whole lot more.
The interior is new and Bentley has somehow been able to up its game with attention to details on each element of the Continental GT’s interior. The highlight of it is a rotating digital screen, which is a cleverly crafted 3 face display that rotates to show 3 different faces. The first face is the trim detail, which can be wood and/or carbon fiber. The 2nd face is Bentley’s three elegant analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass and chronometer and the 3rd is Bentley’s largest ever 12.3 inch retina quality display which displays three configurable home screens i.e. Navigation, Media & Telephone. Everyone who sat in the Continental loved the 3 different faces and how elegant it went from one to the other.
The analogue dials are replaced with visually authentic digital representation of the analogue dials followed by a large digital infotainment screen and all this is wrapped exquisitely with leather, solid metal, glass and wood. It is a work of art. The balancing of the past with the future looks and how it all just works perfectly. The interior has lost none of Bentley’s heritage while being adaptive to today’s tech savvy driver.
There is so much attention to detail, which not only offers visual indulgence such as the diamond shaped imprints but also provides for a sophisticated tactile experience each time you tend to play with the buttons. The leather comes from Bentley’s own tannery. The cows are also allowed to roam free and not limited to a boundary set by barbed wires in case their hides get scratched. It’s this attention to detail that is consistent throughout.
The big question I got throughout my time with the car was how does it drive? The surge of power that comes with 900 Nm of torque is intense. That’s 100 Nm more than the outgoing Continental Supersport. The Continental GT is not about entering and exiting turns at speed but more about devouring miles at high speeds while keeping the interior space quiet and relaxed. The flowing curves suit the GT and gives some indication to the power that lies beneath .
The Continental GT tends to cocoon its occupants while on the outside passers-by are rewarded with a throaty rumble, and loud backfires as the Continental GT ploughs onward. Firing up the Continental GT on a cold morning with the engine note lingering in the air is something I’ll remember fondly. While I made good use of the sound system and connectivity to my phone it would almost be sinful not to get the beautiful note of the exhaust and the deep sound of the W12’s engine note.
The 21-inch Pirelli P Zeros grip well and are brought to a halt with 10 piston calipers wrapped around what is the industries largest discs to feature on a production vehicle. It measures at a whopping 420mm. The Continental GT is still primarily a rear-biased system with 17% of torque getting transferred to the front wheels in “Sport” more and 36% during “Normal” mode.
As for the sound system you can have either a 1500w Bang & Olufsen stereo or, if that seems a little tame for your taste, a 2200w Naim by Bentley system featuring 18-speakers and shakers is available too.
The 2018 Bentley Continental GT is a massive leap forward and should be able to handle the requirements for the next decade as we assume that the life cycle of this platform to be around that long given Bentley’s past records. The Continental GT has been completely re-engineered, to a point where Bentley claims the car is 100 per cent brand new. The chassis and suspension of the new GT are arguably the areas in which it has improved the most. With smartphone connectivity for both iOS and Android and Bentley’s legendary take on what a GT should be, this is for the select few. With an eye watering price tag it is not cheap but most definitely at the top of your list for a test drive if your in the market for a GT.
Model: Bentley Continental GT W12
Engine Size: 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch all-wheel drive
Acceleration (0-100km/h) : 3.7 seconds
Top Speed: 333 km/h
Consumption: 12.2/100km or 23.2 mpg
CO2 Emissions: 278g/km
Road Tax: €2,350 per year (Band G)