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Bentley introduces its fastest production car ever

New Continental GT Speed coupe will make its public debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Gerry Malloy
Published: June 21, 2012, 6:00 AM

Bentley is introducing a new Continental GT Speed coupe as its performance flagship, claiming it is the company's fastest production model ever.

At the heart of the luxury hot-rod is Bentley's unique 6-litre, twin-turbocharged W-12 engine up-rated to 616 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The company says it will charge from 0-to-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds and keep on going to a top speed of 329 km/h.

Plenty of suds to get you to the Country Club in time for cocktails!

Inspiration for the GT Speed came from the legendary ‘Speed’ models that first appeared in 1923. At that time, the standard Bentley 3-litre had already established the brand as a front-runner in terms of roadholding, handling and braking for the day.

But W.O. Bentley, the company’s founder, recognized the market potential for a more potent version aimed at the enthusiast. His response was the 3-litre ‘Speed Model’. Complete with twin SU carburettors and a higher-compression ratio engine, it became one of the most coveted of all Bentleys.

More recently, the first-generation Continental GT Speed was introduced in 2007 and has since enjoyed significant sales success around the world.

The new Speed drives all four wheels through a close-ratio, ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, with intelligent adaptive control software to match performance with refinement.

The new gearbox is also said to make a significant contribution to an overall 12%-improvement in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

Speed-specific chassis tuning includes uprated steering and suspension systems and a lowered ride height, complemented by unique 21-inch Speed wheels fitted with 275/35/R21 Pirelli PZero ultra-high performance tires.

Externally, the Continental coupe's award-winning appearance is only subtly tinkered with. The most notable touches are a dark-tinted matrix front grille and lower air intakes and a ‘rifled’ finish to the exhaust tailpipes.

Inside, the GT Speed features the "Mulliner Driving Specification" as standard as well as a number of signature Speed design cues that are said to combine contemporary luxury with a distinctly sporting character.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin this fall but the the GT Speed makes its public debut at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed, June 28-July 1, where pre-production model will be driven on the hill-climb by modern-day Bentley Boys Juha Kankunnen, Guy Smith and Derek Bell.

According to the company, the new GT Speed delivers supreme levels of performance with no compromise in comfort, refinement, craftsmanship and quality.

And it gives us mere mortals another car to dream about.