The Continental GT, introduced back in 2003, was the first car developed by the English brand after being purchase by the Volkswagen Group. It allowed the brand to reach new heights in terms of sales and profitability. The second generation appeared for the 2011 model year, and now, the third-generation car has just been revealed, which we’ll get as a 2018.
Heavily inspired by the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6, a concept car with a hybrid powertrain that was first shown at the Geneva Auto Show in 2015, the new Continental GT keeps the overall shape of its predecessors, but with a more streamlined and muscular body. The company says the engine has been positioned closer to the cockpit in order to optimise weight distribution, that the front wheels were moved forward by 135 millimetres and the body and materials are lighter by 176 lbs. (80 kilograms), which contribute to enhancing driving dynamics.
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For now, only one powertrain has been announced. It’s a reworked version of Bentley’s twin-turbocharged, 6.0-litre W12, which produces 262 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, connected to a new dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic transmission. According to the automaker, the Continental GT can blast from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 333 km/h. Thanks to automatic start/stop and cylinder deactivation technology under more relaxed driving conditions, the engine emits less emissions and consumes less fuel—its combined city/highway rating dropping from 14.2 to 12.2 L/100 km.
Like its predecessors, the 2018 Bentley Continental GT will be equipped with all-wheel drive, but it’s a new system that varies torque split between front and rear wheels, unlike the old technology which split torque in a fixed 40/60 front/rear ratio. However, the brand points out that the rear wheels will be favoured in order to preserve the feel of a rear-drive car.
Obviously, the steering, the brakes and the suspension have all been revised, and several drive modes will be offered, which alter the calibration of the variable damping system, the electric steering system, the engine and the transmission.
We will still be able to personalise the car to suit our tastes, with a choice of 17 standard colours and up to 70 available hues. Inside, we find 15 carpet choices, 12 wood veneer choices and 15 leather upholstery choices. All confectioned by hand, of course. The Mulliner specification upgrades the alloy wheels from 21 to 22 inches and adds, among other things, quilted leather upholstery. Three audio systems will be offered, including a Naim system with 2200 watts of power, 18 speakers and bass transducers integrated in the front seats.
The 2018 Bentley Continental GT will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in a couple of weeks, and should be on sale before the end of the year. In Canada, its price should hover around $300,000, but more affordable versions, equipped with V8 engines—and possibly a hybrid powertrain—should be added to the line-up later on.