Introducing Bentley’s raucous Continental GT

We test drive the classic grand tourer that does 0-100 km/h in under five seconds.

Damien Reid November 1, 2015

With certain cars there’s a great past time that can be had, preferably in the dead of night and well away from the neighbours. It’s hunting for tunnels and it’s best done with loud American muscle cars or maybe a high-revving Italian supercar.

Windows down, back to second gear and bury the right foot. It’s an orchestra of cylinders bouncing off concrete walls but when Paul Jones, Bentley’s product director for the new Continental GT casually suggested there were a few tunnels on the drive route and to listen carefully, I thought it was a bit of a wind up. A raucous Bentley; really?

The Continental GT has been an outstanding success for the company with more than 50 per cent of Bentley sales last year attributed to the Coupe and convertible and so it’s been given a mild facelift to carry it through for a few more years.

While the six-litre, twin-turbocharged W12-cylinder engine has received an extra 15bhp and 20Nm of torque as well as cylinder deactivation which cuts six of its 12 cylinders when cruising to save fuel, the V8 remains untouched with the exception of a little fettling of the exhaust pipes.

The W12 can keep the power, the V8 has only endeared itself to me even more as the preferred option of the Conti range helped in spades by the computer-enhanced cackle and popping when you lift off the throttle that has the capacity to pop eardrums in the right environment.

Along with my co-driver it’s the first Bentley which made me giggle like a child as I stabbed the throttle only to ease off and let the revs come back down, before stabbing it again for no other reason than that crescendo of sound.

But of course there’s more to the revised Conti than this as it now features restyled grilles, bumpers, boot lids and exterior chrome details as well as offers 117 standard colour choices, fresh alloy wheel designs and revised leathers and Alcantara interiors.

The other great bonus is the addition of high-speed WiFi that comes as an option that even in the heights of snow-capped mountains in Norway worked perfectly.

Though given the choice of entertainment, winding the windows down and planting the throttle wins every time.

Specs

  • Engine: 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbo
  • Power: 582bhp @ 6,000rpm
  • Torque: 720Nm @ 1,7000rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • 0-100kmh: 4.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 315kmh
  • Price: AED750,000