It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the Bentley Continental GT to its maker. Since its launch in 2003, this sporty two-door has revitalized Bentley, becoming the new face of an automaker previously known for conservatively designed sedans.
But while it did get a significant update in 2011, the Continental GT is positively ancient by industry standards. Bentley is finally ready to launch an all-new Continental GT that promises greater performance, tech, and style. It will need that and more to live up to the legacy of its predecessor.
The new Continental GT certainly makes a good first impression. It’s much sleeker looking than the previous model, with styling cues cribbed from the well-received EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. It’s still recognizable as a Continental GT, but looks a lot more aggressive thanks to a longer and lower stance, a more in-your-face front-end design featuring Matrix LED headlights, and oval taillights that mirror the shape of the exhaust ports.
Under the hood sits a reworked version of Bentley’s 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine, producing 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The engine’s computer makes 300 million calculations per second, and can deactivate some cylinders, or shut the engine down completely at stop lights, to save fuel.
The W12 is backed by an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with all-wheel drive, and the powertrain features a new “Sport Launch” mode equivalent to the launch control offered by other automakers. That’s something that would make an old school Bentley driver’s monocle fall out, and so will the Continental GT’s quoted 0 to 60 mph time of 3.6 seconds, and top speed of 207 mph.
To keep things just as entertaining in the corners, the Continental GT also gets the Bentley Dynamic Ride system that debuted on the Bentayga SUV. It uses electric actuators to counteract body roll, helping the car corner better. The system is teamed with air suspension and electric power steering, the latter allowing Bentley to add a host of new driver aids, including Active Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, and Park Assist.
The last Continental GT was developed before the modern infotainment craze took hold, but the new model is fully up to speed. A 12.3-inch touchscreen sits in the center of the dashboard, and rotates out of sight when the car is turned off. The Continental GT is compatible with Apple CarPlay, and is available with Bang & Olufsen or Naim audio systems, the latter boasting 18 speakers and 2,200 watts. As with all Bentley models the tech is wrapped in a handcrafted interior that’s a cut above most other luxury cars.
The new Bentley Continental GT is currently on display at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Expect it begin arriving at dealerships next year, with pricing to be announced at a later date.
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