In Bentley's timeline, there's one key point we can call BC: Before Continental. The first Conti GT–not just for sales, but setting a template and tone for the entire brand–was so vital that you could easily argue that if it weren't for Bentley's two-door coupe today, it might not be with us. In the last 13 years 66,000 sold. That is an enormous number. The most successful, modern-day luxury car? Apparently.
And now a new one is in there. It needs to sell well, and it still has to be the focal point for the entire brand to embody what a Bentley is so we don't assume it's a body image problem SUV. It's a beautiful thing, the new Conti GT, at least in profile, where the front wheels were shifted 135 mm forward to improve the weight distribution and lower the engine in the chassis and further back.
55 percent of the weight is still on those front wheels, but less than before–the body alone is 80 kg lighter, helping the new Conti GT' only' weigh 2,244 kg. But Bentley has made no secret of the fact that a heavy kerbweight actually contributes to delivering the road-crushing stability and momentum that characterizes the way their cars are driving. The Bentayga's powerful 48v electrics are used–among other things–to manage the suspension, front and rear anti-roll bar actuators to combat body roll. The 40:60 power split set is now fully variable, actually sending 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels as frequently as possible for fuel efficiency and emissions benefit.
Not that there is a 23.2mpg combined economy figure and 278g / km CO2 emissions to be much to celebrate. The W12 engine (basically two V6s on a common crank) is transported, albeit sufficiently modified to make Bentley the' world's most advanced 12-cylinder engine.' It features shut-off cylinder under light loads, while also producing 626bhp and a thumping 664 lb ft torque from a mere 1,350rpm, maintaining that up to 4,500rpm. Powering all four wheels with an eight-speed gearbox and a launch control system, 0-62 mph takes 3.7secs and top speed (mostly due to a slippery drag factor of 0.29Cd) is 207 mph.
Standard features include full Matrix LED lights, 12.3 in central touchscreen, wifi, head-up display, night vision, 650w stereo and 21inch wheels. Pricing begins at £ 159,100 and places this in direct competition with the likes of the Aston Martin DB11, Mercedes S63 Coupe and Ferrari Portofino. Without doubt other versions will be available in time–a twin turbo V8 and almost certainly a hybrid, a convertible and so on. But it is this first version which counts. The car that carries the weight on the broad shoulders of Bentley's expectations.
A more athletic-looking new Conti GT is also more athletic-driving in an example of function following form. That car was made of the 48v electrics. In keeping the Bentayga behemoth under control, the system is impressive enough, but using them to underpin the Conti gives it a dynamism that it had not before.
The old Continental used to keep its mass in order and struggle to heave. It's not now. Indeed it's uncanny how it goes round corners. Open the bonnet and you'll see the engine is still a long way forward, still predominantly ahead of the front axle, but the front end grip, the lack of roll, the fact that it actually astutely changes direction, well, that's all new. It is significantly less nose-heavy, no doubt helped by both the positioning of the front axle and the electrics. It will really carry and keep speed throughout the country, and this is very welcome.
The body-control is also welcome. It is not an easy task to keep two and a quarter tons of the coupe in check, yet the new GT retains its composure far beyond the point where high expectations collide with physics-defying mysticism.
Do not get me wrong, it is still a heavyweight, but with their three-chamber air suspension spring / damper units, the tendons and ligaments of the double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension are better able to keep control of the masses involved. You can also affect things-a rotary controller switching between Comfort, Bentley, Sport and Custom modes on the console. Up to 38 per cent of the power in the first two can be directed to the front wheels, in Sport which drops to 17 per cent. The ride firms up and the engine and transmission make their wits sharper. Bentley mode ably addresses most requirements.
It is rapidly monstrous. Monsterly. All that torque comes with a new found suddenness and aggression on the road. This was deliberate. Customers wanted to have their cars packing a bigger punch, so the huge surge is gone, replaced by an immediacy that takes some to get used to. And there's that jar of other changes.
In addition to engine calibration, there's a bit of wind noise, the 22-inch wheels (equipped with front 275/35 and rear 315/30 tyres) kicked back into this car and were noticeably noisy on some surfaces, the steering didn't glide through my hands as easily as it used to. In short, the Conti GT has become more sporty, and some of the steamroller's ability to crush distance it used to have lost in doing so.
Don't get me wrong, it will destroy miles more ably than nearly any rival, certainly better than an Aston DB11, but it doesn't have the same portly waft any more. You are more aware of what they are up to. Maybe this is a good thing–it's clearly what buyers wanted, and I'm definitely not going to decry the brakes, which finally, with their huge 420/380 mm f / r disk size, finally deliver the stopping power. Enough to hold a rein on hard-hitting W12 626bhp. This motor, all the bass rumbling from a distant engine room still sounds good. It's hardly need a gearbox. Just hook fifth and leave to get on with the 12 pistons and double-barrel blowers.
It is deeply beautiful in here. I suspect that the Bentley's cabin is based on the same electrical architecture as the Panamera's and A8's, but this is in a league of its own for luxury, tactility and ambience. The only part that grinds slightly is the virtual display of the cockpit dash that does not operate as intuitively and attractively as in various Audis. And the gearlever that's got annoying relaxation to stop it going straight from D to R.
And –promise this is the last–the confluence of laid back A-pillar and chunky door mirror makes a big blind spot forwards, while the back view is much narrower than you might expect due to the length of that rear glass piece.
But as it takes some beating to sit down and feel good about the world and your (financially elevated) place in it. More high-tech and driver-oriented than a Rolls Wraith, more spacious and better finished than a DB11, clear and mostly logical to use and with a satisfactory height to the control weights, so you know you're operating something with the right condition.
The wood and leather are beautifully made, the steering wheel doesn't have any of that flat-bottom nonsense and connectivity (Airplay etc) is first class. It's not big in the back, but in the Golf-rivalling 358-litre boot, you would volunteer this as a way to get four people away an hour or two away with room for weekend luggage.
Dropping all four windows creates open flanks that give the cabin a lovely fresh airiness if you're just oozing around, and although there's a trace of wind noise from the A-pillars at the speed of the motorway, you can distract yourself by flipping the (admittedly optional) rotating display that flicks, like Bond's DB5 number plate, between three separate plates: a blank veneer, a 12.3 in screen and three antennas.
Comfort on deep, thick seats is hard to blame and the driving position and cabin access are good. The creaky knees needn't fall too far.
£159,100 is pretty much money. But with the £ 157,900 V12 Aston DB11, and £ 166,180 Ferrari Portofino, it places the Conti GT level-pegging. It's well-equipped as standard on the tech front, as we mentioned above, but that's before you get on to the leather, wood and chrome.
The car you see here had £ 4,500 Tungsten paint, a £ 750 heated two-tone steering wheel, £ 1,470 diamond knurling to the winds, organ stop vent controls and clock bezels, and the First Edition specification. This brings everything from mood lighting and contrast stitching to the Rotating Display and thicker carpets under one, easily choked-on payment-£ 35,000 in addition to emblems on the dash, doorplates and wings.
I and you are baulking at this. Those who can afford a Conti GT will probably not, likewise their only economic concern will not be 18mpg, but the fact that every 300 miles they have to stop. And CO2 by 278g / km? Tax is something of a concern for my accountant, isn't it?
Bentley's final verdict
It has given customers what they demanded: a more athletic, sporty, faster, more capable Continental GT. Obviously, in the areas owners care about it most –performance and handling, it is better at night and day than the old one. The 48v electrics, longer wheelbase and air suspension brought crispness to the dynamics and allowed the car to handle the enormous increase in straight-line performance admirably.
But it's also lost a bit of what first gave the Conti its grand touring reputation. The waft, surge, and cosset is diminished slightly, it's lost a bit of its individuality of one mind. But this is a tiny thing, almost a calibration issue. Comfort and relaxation may have slipped five percent, but a 50 percent increase in dynamism. And most importantly, the Bentley Continental GT is well suited for that ability and behavior.
Originl Source: https://www.topgear.com/car-reviews/bentley/continental-gt