When the Bentley Continental GT progressed from first generation to second back in 2011, it was more like a facelift rather than a full-fledged revamp. Fast forward to 2017, the third gen model has more than compensated for its predecessor’s lack of novelty! Yes, the new British grand tourer is leaner, meaner and posher by a good measure.
The 2018 Continental GT employs VW’s MSB (Modular Standard drivetrain) platform which also underpins the new Porsche Panamera but Bentley claims that about 82% of the components and parts are unique to their vehicle. The new architecture, combined with the usage of Super Formed aluminium for the entire body, has resulted in a weight saving of 80 kg, says the company.
For most part, the exterior styling is a bold re-imagination of the brand’s quintessential traits but the design of the rear end is indeed a radical departure from that of the outgoing model. Clearly, the inspiration comes from the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept.
The front axle which is shifted further ahead by 135 mm has allowed the designers to achieve a longer and lower bonnet. The additional width of 25 mm has further enhanced the new Continental GT’s elegant and athletic stance. Four-unit headlamps (albeit with much smaller auxiliary units), handcrafted radiator grille and generously proportioned airdams characterize the front fascia.
The new silhouette with a gradually tapering fastback roofline makes for a delightful sight. Add to that a set of unmissable 21-inch wheels (customers can also opt for 22-inchers for an added visual drama) and muscular rear haunches, what you get is a grand tourer you can’t takes your eyes off. Going with the trend, the new Continental GT sports some chrome embellishments as well.
Coming to the rear, there is absolutely nothing that would tie the third generation Bentley to its predecessor. The elliptical LED taillights match the dual exhaust pipes to create an understated yet sporty character.
If you’re already impressed with the exteriors of the 2018 Bentley Continental GT, then the interiors will have you smitten. The dashboard design is a huge leap ahead. Keeping up with the expectations, the Crewe-based outfit has used only the topnotch materials. The handcrafted cabin is swathed in natural lather, hand-polished chrome and of course, carefully selected wooden veneers. Bentley says that each car employs more than 10 square metres of wood and it takes 9 full hours for the craftsmen to create and fit the veneers by hand! Bullseye vents, knurled knobs and switches, diamond-in-diamond seat quilting are few of many elements that highlight the British marque’s unquestionable attention to detail.
The key highlight has to be the centre console dubbed as Bentley Rotating Display, which, on touch of a button, can be a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, or a set of three analog dials (exterior temperature gauge, chronograph and compass), or simply an elegant panel of dual-tone veneer! The fully digital color instrument console provides you all the vital information that the grand tourer’s comprehensive list of driver assistance features have to offer. For entertainment, Bentley offers an option of 10 music systems, the least of which is a 650 Watt 10-speaker unit. Of course, the luxury automaker offers its customers virtually limitless choices when it comes to personalizing their already exclusive set of wheels.
Coming to the business end of the things, the 2018 Bentley Continental GT houses the familiar but improved 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbocharged TSI petrol engine under its long bonnet. For the first time, the mighty powerful motor is paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that powers all the four wheels via a sophisticated all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring capability.
With a colossal 626 bhp and 900 Nm of torque, the grand tourer has more mile munching capacity than you would ever need. The car can accelerate to ton from a standstill in a scant 3.7 seconds while on its way to a seriously impressive top speed of 333 kmph! Thanks to the Variable Displacement system that shuts down half the engine when not required, the car has a reasonable fuel consumption of 12.2 L/100 km.
Aided by the new 48 volt electronic architecture, the Bentley Dynamic Ride, air suspension and Continuous Damping Control systems deal with road conditions on real-time basis to offer a fine balance of comfort and handling, depending on the chosen driving mode.
The 2018 Bentley Continental GT will make its first public appearance at the upcoming IAA 2017 (Frankfurt Motor Show). Production is slated to commence towards the end of this year and first deliveries are expected in the spring of 2018. Considering how vastly improved the new gen car is, expect it to be priced significantly higher than the previous model which starts at about £168,000.
One shouldn’t be surprised if James Bond ends up favouring the new Continental GT over an Aston Martin in his next flick. That’s how good the new British grand tourer really is!