Think of Bentley, and nimble sports cars don’t normally come to mind. But the British brand known for copious luxury is working very hard to change that.
Set to be unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month, the Bentley Continental GT3-R is the meanest road car to ever wear the Flying “B” badge.
The GT3-R is billed as the sportiest Bentley of the them all, topping the current Continental GT Speed and the discontinued Continental Supersports. Yet unlike those models, it uses the carmaker’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, rather than the 6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12.
This move was hinted at previously, and while it may inspire some cylinder envy, it also brings the GT3-R in line with the V8-powered Continental GT3 Bentley races in European and North American sports-car series.
Being fast helps, too. The engine produces 572 horsepower and 518 pound-feet of torque, and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. While it has less power than the GT Speed, the GT3-R is still the fastest-accelerating production Bentley ever, able to do 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Top speed is 170 mph.
That’s partially down to a 220-pound weight reduction, which shows that the GT3-R is really about. Bentley says this car is supposed to emphasize handling which, given the Continental GT’s girth, seems implausible.
To make the GT3-R carve corners with aplomb, Bentley gave it an uprated air suspension system and sportier stability-control programming. Massive green brake calipers clamp down on carbon-silicon carbide rotors, stopping the car with enough energy to power a family home for six hours.
All of this capability is wrapped in styling that will provoke race-car driver fantasies. A carbon fiber front splitter and rear spoiler, along with hood vents, give the GT3-R some attitude, while the Glacier White paint and green graphics echo the look of the Continental GT3 racer.
On the inside, the GT3-R is still a Bentley. Its luxurious interior is trimmed in leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber, but the rear seats are deleted to save weight. In front are model-specific sport seats with deep bolstering.
The Bentley Continental GT3-R will make its official debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month. Production is limited to just 300 units, although didn’t specify when they would be available, or whether any will come to the U.S.