The Bentley Continental GT has been a sales phenomenon to such an extent that without it we may not have had the Bentley brand with us today. When the car was launched in 2003 Bentley were selling around 1000 cars globally, and that was an improvement on the 400 cars they only sold 5 years previously. In it’s first year since release Bentley sold more than 7 times the number of cars, and today have had three successive years of selling more than 10,000 cars. In total more than 66,000 Continentals have been sold and it is considered one of, if not the most successful, luxury car of modern times.
To keep the success going the car was mildly revised in 2011, after an impressive 8 years on sale, with the second-generation Continental GT. However, since its release in 2018, the third generation has seen the Continental receive its biggest overhaul yet. With more than 80kg in weight reduction, an extended wheelbase of 135mm (front wheels have been moved forward to improve weight distribution by dropping the engine lower and further back in the chassis), the introduction of a 48-volt electrical system to manage suspension actuators on front and rear anti-roll bars combating body roll, and variable power split instead of fixed 40:60 front to rear, the latest Continental GT is a different prospect.
All this technology and advances in dynamics are coupled with a modified 6.0 W12 engine which Bentley claim is the ‘most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world’. Capable of shutting cylinders down to reduce emissions and fuel consumption under steady use, it also produces 626 bhp and 664lb ft of torque from as little as 1,350 rpm, four wheel drive and a launch control system means 0-62 mph takes just 3.7 seconds and, thanks to the new more aerodynamic body, allows a top speed of 207mph. Thanks to that new 48-volt electrical system that does such an impressive job of keeping the Bentayga’s mass in check, the latest Continental GT isn’t just about cruising and straight line speed, as impressive as that may also be, it now has a more dynamic and athletic capability.
Not forgetting their luxury laden roots, the interior of the Continental GT has always been a sumptuous cocktail of the finest woods, leathers and knurled chrome instruments with exquisite attention to detail. The new GT however, goes even further than ever before. Similar priced cars in this class, and even more expensive ones in any class come to think of it, have nowhere near the sense of quality and occasion that the Continental GT evokes. The interior manages to be stylish and contemporary yet still features traditional materials and styling touches. The digital dashboard looks bang up to date yet the styling of the graphics and dials still feel traditional Bentley-like, and if the screens get to much for you, a 3-way rotating central display makes way for a blank matching panel or three old school analogue dials at the push of a button. Despite the cars obvious abundance of technology and driver aids, the controls don’t feel cluttered or overpowering and things are in logical order and positions.
Bentley have managed to redefine the Continental GT’s ability to cruise endless miles in complete luxury and effortless comfort yet can display tyre shredding power and sports car like handling when the mood takes you. Interiors that are on par with Rolls Royce but with performance to trouble a Ferrari owner mean that Bentley’s bestseller certainly keeps at the very top of its game and continues to win over customers time and time again.
Our 2018 Bentley Continental GT is the much sought after First Edition, a car created specifically to celebrate the launch of the new car and to showcase the craftsmanship and design. Offered in Bentley Extended Range Moroccan Blue metallic and featuring full Linen and Imperial Blue hide interior, the First Edition also has unique dual veneers with this example featuring Dark Stained Burr Walnut together with Grand Black. As well as unique First Edition badging, Bentley have included a lot of optional features to the standard specification for this car, including the Mulliner Driving Specification, Touring Specification, City specification and the impressive 3-way rotating display panel to the centre console. The car has covered just 1,200 miles from new and comes with the remainder of a Bentley manufacturer warranty until January 2022.
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