Bentley unveils a new Continental GT

New coupe has impressive equipment lists, superb personalization options

Published: August 29, 2017, 9:45 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:08 PM

2018 Bentley Continental GT

Aston Martin has revealed the latest Continental GT — the third generation of the luxury Grand Tourer — with a sculpted new exterior, an efficient enhanced powertrain and an innovative luxurious interior.

“The new, third-generation Continental GT is the pinnacle of our design and engineering achievements and marks the next step in Bentley’s journey,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors. “We are the world leader in luxury mobility and our products and services define new luxury in the automotive world. The new Continental GT encapsulates our desire to innovate as well as celebrate our heritage and take the Bentley ownership experience to the next, unparalleled level.”

The aluminum body was crafted using Super Formed technology that allowed designers to create more complex, sharply-defined body lines and see them through to production. The car is the first to have an entire bodyside made using the process, with the exterior finished in one of 17 colours (or a bespoke option, at launch).

The new Continental GT rides on standard 21-inch wheels, available in two styles, and can be optioned up to 22-inchers and further optioned up to a hand-finished look. The rear is a radical departure from that of its predecessor, with elliptical taillights mimicking the tailpipes below.

Under the hood still resides the Bentley renowned 6.0-litre twin turbo W12, which is equipped with Stop/Start (with a coasting feature) and variable displacement systems, and mated for the first time with a dual-clutch 8-speed paddle-shift automatic (7th and 8th are overdrive gears).

The engine makes 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty to take the large Grand Touring coupe to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 333 km/h. Launch mode is, of course, standard. Active all wheel drive keeps the car in rear-wheel drive until the front wheels are needed to overcome surface conditions.

It’s also set farther back in the chassis to improve weight distribution and improve handling dynamics. Further to that, the car features Bentley’s Dynamic Ride System (with continuous damping control) to enhance ride and keep lateral roll in check, resulting in a smoother ride and precise handling. Driver-selectable ride allows the driver to choose between Comfort, Bentley and Sport modes, with corresponding changes to power, shifting, suspension and other chassis qualities.

Driving aids include lane keep assist, traffic jam assist (automated braking and acceleration) and parking assist.

Inside, four diamond-quilted leather seats (20-way adjustable, up front) offer more usable passenger, while increased luggage capacity makes the luxury coupe more practical for everyday use. The interior palette offers up 15 colours for upholstery and carpets, so creating a unique interior won’t be a problem.

Technology is also brought to the forefront, with a fully digital driver-configurable gauge cluster and Bentley’s Rotating Display that uses a 12.3-inch touchscreen in a 3-sided integrated unit that also has a veneer side and another veneer side with inset analog gauges for temperature, compass and a chronometer.

The veneer palette includes a new Koa — a reddish native Hawaiian wood, with the properties of Black Walnut, used for centuries in the creation of outrigger canoes and surfboards, and most recently for stringed instruments — and for the first time is offered in two-toned presentation.

The centre console can be made to match the veneered instrument panel or can be finished in a new machined surface inspired by a fine Swiss watch. The first such automotive application, the surface is machined onto 0.6-mm aluminum.

To finish it off, a choice of three audio systems deliver audiophile quality through as few as 10 speakers with the standard 650-watt system, through 16 with the Bang & Olsen 1500W option, to 18 with a Naim system.

The car makes its public debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor show in two weeks.