Bentley’s New Continental GT is a Mix of Power, Style and Luxury
It’s been a long time coming, but thanks to some co-development and co-operation from sister company Porsche, Bentley, a unit of Volkswagen (OTCMKT:VLKAY) has released its 1st new Continental GT in 15 years.
Porsche’s contribution is not visible, but the new Continental rides on a modular platform shared by VW Group’s front-engine with rear- or all- wheel drive combo cars and was first seen last year in the new Porsche Panamera.
We will next see it pop up supporting the Bentley Flying Spur.
For now, it forms the benchmark for a truly remarkable GT coupé that is lighter, more luxurious, technically advanced and spacious than the model it replaces
Under the hood is a 626bhp, 6-litre W12 twin-turbo engine that appears familiar but is very different from those used in prior Bentleys.
Having debuted in the Bentayga, this W12 engine has not only shed 30kg but has also been radically re-engineered with the front drive shafts punching through the sump to make it fit into the smaller engine bay coupled to a new ZF transmission.
It uses a new fuel injection system comprising both port injection from the old car for more power with direct injection to ensure it meets new emission regulations.
The twin turbos have also been upgraded to twin-scroll units and it features cylinder displacement which cuts out 6 cylinders when cruising.
This helps the vehicle to achieve a stated 16% better fuel economy with a range of 800km and even more than 600km through mountain passes and high-speed motorways, that saw better than 13L/100km average.
The transmission is an 8-speed ZF unit that uses Porsche’s PDK double-clutch set up and was 1 of the reasons why the car’s launch was postponed from late last year as engineers needed to give it a tweak to handle the engine’s 900Nm of torque.
On road, it provides rapid shifting that was close to seamless through its 8 cogs.
The twin-scroll turbos eliminate all lag as the surge of power felt almost limitless and despite its portly 2,244kg, Bentley claims it will get to 100kph in 3.7 secs and on to 333kph.
This new C-GT has dropped 80kgs through the use of aluminium and composites in the body. The combination of more power and less weight was immediately noticeable.
The Continental dives into corners like no Bentley before.
This is helped by the 48-volt dynamic ride rear anti-roll suspension from Bentayga and its 3-chamber air suspension, which gives the driver more control in the stiffness Vs comfort battle.
Stopping’s not a problem because it is fitted with the biggest brakes used on a production car of 420mm, 10-piston units on the front and 380mm, 4-piston discs to the rears..
Gone is the car’s claim of being an AWD (all-wheel drive) in the sense we knew it as the prior model had a fixed 60:40 split rear to front AWD system whereas this new car is effectively a RWD (rear-wheel drive) with a clutch that gives torque on demand to the front wheels as needed.
The front axle has moved forward 135mm not only for better weight distribution but also to give it a more aggressive look, while the 110mm longer wheelbase and 50mm wider footprint gives the car its assertive stance without sacrificing height and headroom.
The inside is a departure from prior Bentleys and differs from Bentayga, feeling lighter and more spacious despite maintaining the Bentley hallmarks of wood, leather and chrome.
Ambient mood lighting includes razor thin LED strips across the dash and down the doors into the rear where it imitates the outside’s coke- bottle hips.
Not content with just 1 veneer, buyers can specify 2 on the dash and doors, split by a chrome strip, while a new 12.3-inch nav screen is hidden behind a clever panel that rotates to show either a trio of analogue dials or continues the clean wood look.
A host of driver aids such as a heads-up display, active lane assistance, traffic assistance, parking aids and reversing cameras are also included to bring the Continental GT into the modern era.
By Damien Reid
Paul Ebeling, Editor
Have a terrific weekend.