Originally slated to be released in November 2017, Bentley’s Continental GT proved to be well worth the wait when it made its European debut in May 2019. Bentley’s Continental line has always aimed to capture the essence of the grand touring automobile, with elegant styling, bespoke leather and wood, opulent seating, and more than a hint of dynamic capability. But the first modern Bentley Continental GT — introduced in 2003 and finally discontinued last year — never quite hit the mark. The new Continental GT features innovations throughout the drivetrain, making it the most advanced Bentley model ever built.
At a glance, it may look like an evolution of its predecessor, but there’s a revolution underneath. The redesigned Continental GT’s classic rear-wheel-drive proportions are unmistakable. Because the front axle has moved forward relative to the cabin and there’s less mass ahead of the axle, the hood looks long and prominent, as befits a grand-touring coupe. At the nose, the LED matrix headlights utilize many smaller LED modules to fine-tune the beam pattern for the driving conditions. In the sheet metal department,
Meanwhile, a special hot-stamping technique used previously only on fenders is now employed on every exterior panel, resulting in sharper lines and smoother curves. It gives the Continental a unique softly chiseled look that isn’t overdone. Continental’s 12.3-inch touchscreen display is decidedly modern but is part of a rotatable triangular prism, so if you want to take a quick trip back in time, you can power the display away and instead reveal three analog gauges or a wood panel that blends in with the rest of the dash. For audiophiles, there are three systems to choose from. The base unit is a 10-speaker 650-watt audio system that anyone would be happy with. In the middle of the range is a Bang & Olufsen 1,500-watt system with 16 speakers. Topping it all off is an insane Naim 2,200-watt, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats. The brand’s bespoke approach to leather, wood and metal remains in full effect. New technology such as the Continental’s 48-volt active anti-roll bars at the front and rear axles, three chamber dynamic air suspension system and the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission indicate that the big Continental GT will corner flatter, ride better over varied terrain and conditions, and shift more rapidly and precisely than ever before.
Under the hood, however, the 2019 Continental GT retains its predecessor’s distinctive 6.0-liter W12 engine, albeit with new tweaks that should improve both performance and efficiency. The W12, which is more like a squished V12, produces a monstrous 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque with the aid of dual twin-scroll turbochargers. That output gets sent to a variable all-wheel-drive system that sends power to the front wheels only when necessary, ensuring the big coupe maintains a sporty rear-wheel-drive nature.
Mainly driving the rear wheels also increases efficiency, and the W12 can also shut down six of the cylinders to further minimize fuel consumption. Four driving modes are accessible at the turn of a dial. Comfort optimizes the chassis and drivetrain for luxurious cruising, while Sport mode retunes the engine for a more dynamic response – with the variable exhaust valve adjusting the character of the exhaust note to match. The Bentley mode provides the optimum combination of Sport and Comfort, while a Custom mode allows you to configure your own settings for future use. Using the available launch control function, Bentley says the Continental GT can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds (0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds) and deliver a phenomenal top speed of 207 mph (333 km/h).
The new Continental GT First Edition is the most exquisitely appointed expression of the new car. Created to celebrate the launch of this ground-breaking grand tourer, it represents a stunning showcase of Bentley craftsmanship and design. Built by hand, it offers practically limitless scope for personalization. Taken together, the vast range of options available for both the interior and exterior of your car ensure you need never see another one like it. The new Continental GT can be commissioned with stunning dual veneers, in which the natural grain of wood is contrasted with clean, minimalist Grand Black, the two finishes separated by a Chrome Pinstripe – a 3mm strip of polished chrome, tracing a ring around the cabin.
Alternatively, there is a choice of eight single veneers, including the new Koa and Crown Walnut veneers, any of which can be enhanced by the same Chrome Pinstripe used in the dual veneers. There are 15 interior hides to choose from covering everything from the seats and the dashboard top to the door panels and car headliner. They are Magnolia, Camel, Linen, Portland, Saddle, Brunel, Cumbrian Green, Burnt Oak, Damson, Cricket Ball, Hotspur, Newmarket Tan, Porpoise, Imperial Blue and Beluga. Carpets can be chosen to match either the main hide or secondary hide. Hand cross-stitching is now also available to compliment your choice of hides. The elegant, wide center console can be commissioned with a sleek finish inspired by the Côtes de Genève finish used inside mechanical wristwatches. To complement the car’s striking interior design, the interior mood lighting (fitted as standard) can be configured to your preference. With lighting strips created to accentuate the car’s key design lines, you can choose vibrant or muted settings in seven colors, as well as backlighting the tread plates in your chosen color. The seats are minimalist in style, with a streamlined design that ensures they are as comfortable as they are elegant. Smooth center panels maximize the effectiveness of heating, cooling, ventilation and massage functions, while handcrafted quilting adds detail to the bolsters and upper areas – parts of the seats that can be seen from outside the car. The seat memory selectors are located in the door pads, allowing you to select your preferred seating position with a flick of a switch before you even sit down. A satin chrome handle is used to tilt each rear seat forward and access the rear of the cabin, with an alternative ‘express’ switch, which moves the seat electrically instead. As Bentley describes it, “Whichever version you choose, and whatever your destination, the new Continental range will take you there in unmistakable style.”
The Continental GT is now available in Thailand with a price of 22.1 million THB. For more information contact Bentley Bangkok, 02 261 1050.