Bentley recently debuted an updated version of its Continental GT coupe at the Detroit auto show, and it’s already working on new variants. The last Continental GT spawned performance models like the Speed and Supersports. The 2013 model is no different: a new Continental GT Speed is on its way, and it is the fastest Bentley ever.
The biggest new for Bentley in 2013 is that it’s offering a smaller engine (a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8) for better fuel economy. That was not a priority for Bentley’s engineers, who stuck with the larger twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12. The big engine’s output was increased to 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, compared to the old Continental GT Speed’s 600 hp and 553 lb-ft.
Bentley says that is enough power to propel the 2013 Continental GT Speed to 205 mph, making it the fastest production car in the company’s history. The 2013 model tops the previous Continental GT Speed by 3 mph, and the 2010 Continental Supersports by 1 mph. It may be a small lead, but a win’s a win, right?
The 2013 Continental GT Speed also bests its predecessor in acceleration. The old GT Speed could go from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds; the new car does in 4.0. However, the 2010 Supersports could do zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds, probably because of its lighter weight and slight (five horsepower) power advantage.
Despite its name the new GT Speed isn’t all about speed. Bentley replaced the previous model’s six-speed automatic transmission with a close-ratio eight-speed from ZF. Bentley says this will improve acceleration, and fuel economy. Last year’s GT Speed was rated at 10 mpg city, 17 highway; the EPA has not tested the new car.
When it comes to performance, Bentley really is competing against itself. The Continental is a luxurious land yacht that the British company keeps trying to turn into an America’s Cup winner, and that is pretty unusual.
Take the Ferrari FF. Like the Bentley, it seats four people and has all-wheel drive. It bests the Bentley in acceleration (3.5 seconds to 60 mph) and top speed (208 mph) but, being a Ferrari, it is more focused on performance. The FF is lighter and more powerful than the GT Speed. It also comes with Ferrari technology, like a dual-clutch transmission.
Regardless of how it stacks up against competitors, the GT Speed definitely has a place in the market. Who wouldn’t want a giant, 5,000+ pound car that can go 205 mph?
Bentley did not say how much the 2013 Continental GT Speed will cost, but the old model stickered for $213,995. It will be unveiled on June 29 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. If you want one, Bentley is taking orders; deliveries begin in October.