It’s a dream car in so many words; the Bentley Continental GT. The grand touring machine embodies the very essence of performance, refinement, and luxury. For all of the options on the market today – sedans, coupes, sports cars, trucks, SUVs, exotics (you name it) – there is really nothing quite like the Continental GT. Perhaps I’m being overly nostalgic, but the Bentley Continental GT brings to mind those old Packards and Rolls-Royces and Cadillacs. In their day, they were Proper Motor Cars. Today, the Bentley Continental GT is such a car.
Bentley Continental GT: The W12 Flyer
The Bentley Continental GT features a 6.0-liter, W12 TSI engine that produces 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft. of torque. The W12 TSI engine employs both high- and low-pressure direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation. When at full chat, the Continental GT W12 jets to 60 in 3.6 seconds with a top speed of 207. Fast as that is, it’s nothing compared to the 300 million calculations per second the engine’s internal software management system performs.
The Bentley Continental GT in W12 flavor is a fine filly, however, the newest iteration commands equal attention. Those of us in Detroit relish the letter V and the number 8, and hence, the crew from Crewe delights. The Continental GT V8 is now available, having recently launched on Bentley’s configurator. Did you know the Continental GT has over seven billion different possible configurations? Suffice it to say, between the Rotating Display and neck-warmer; between the sustainable veneers and handcrafted leather, the Bentley Continental GT V8 is as bespoke as they come.
Bigger Power & Better Balance
The Bentley Continental GT V8 gets cooking with 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft. of torque. The 32-valve, 4.0-liter V8 relies on two turbos at home inside the “V” of the engine. Under heavy throttle, the Continental GT V8 rockets to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, topping out at 198. The Convertible isn’t far behind, hitting 60 in four seconds flat. During causal cruising, Bentley’s V8 shuts down four cylinders; the change-over happens within 20 milliseconds.
Bentley’s engineering team paid close attention to weight distribution across the car in the interest of overall performance. Both the Continental GT V8 and Convertible use hollow anti-roll bars, front and rear, to compliment the optional Dynamic Ride System. The air suspension uses three-chamber air springs for a range between sporty and stiff; to soft and comfortable. From there, Continuous Damping Control constantly adjusts the damping forces relative to road irregularities. The system routinely measures the velocity and distance between the wheels and the body at each corner, and adjusts accordingly. Isn’t math fun?
Powerful Ride & Smooth Inside
If the Bentley Continental GT is to be the ultimate bespoke touring car, then it must be the ultimate bespoke touring car. This surely accounts for the Continental GT V8’s luxurious nature, yet its muscular aura is never far, and perhaps best seen in how Bentley directs their all-wheel drive system. While it can split torque front to rear, it defaults primarily to rear-drive. 100 years ago, Walter Owen (W.O.) Bentley wanted a fast car. Sending the torque to the rear is a good way to make that happen today.
On the inside, the Bentley Continental GT V8 completes its one-of-a-kind status in flying colors. Among the more notable features is Bentley’s Rotating Display, complete with a revolving 12.3-inch touchscreen and analogue dials. New Crown Cut Walnut adorns the inside, with the option of numerous other wood veneers to suit. V8 variants receive a 650-watt audio system along with eight different roof lining colors to pick from. Safety features include Active Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, and Park Assist.
The Bentley Continental GT V8 is available to order in all markets except EU28, Switzerland, Norway, Ukraine, and Turkey. It will be available to order in those locations in the fourth quarter of this year. Plan for at least $220,000 for the V8; around 232,000 for the W12. We recommend the V8 because it adds muscle car flare to a luxurious and elegant grand tourer. But the W12 is pretty sweet too. Either way, the Bentley Continental GT is arguably among the last of the Proper Motor Cars; if not the only Proper Motor Car.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.