FUSING together sport and opulence, speed and long-distance coziness, has been the Bentley Continental GT’s brief from Day One — or since 2003, when the original model debuted. Three generations later, the car faithfully keeps to its reason for being, all while packing the latest in car-making technologies. The all-new Continental GT, launched in September last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is a rolling-sculpture proof of this. And, now, it has arrived in the Philippines (it’s now available at the newly refurbished Bentley Manila showroom in Bonifacio Global City).
The Continental GT gets a body wholly crafted from aluminum, which Bentley said has allowed its coach builders to sculpt the car’s iconic shape, not to mention its “power line,” which originates from between the head lamps, spears through the doors, and fades out as it reaches the rear haunches. This feature is an evolution of that which also graced the body of the R Type Continental from 1952.
Rakish than ever, the new Continental GT wears a swept-back silhouette, and is also lower and wider than the model it replaced. But the car retains the nameplate’s signature cues, albeit reinterpreted, such as the matrix grille that’s flanked by a pair of round head lamps on either side. The head lamp units are pieces of automotive jewelry — they’re made up of 82 LEDs, creating a cut-crystal effect. This treatment is echoed at the back by the elliptical tail lights.
The car’s cabin is a mixture of Old World craftsmanship and new technologies — think swaths of quilted leather and the finest forest veneers combined with touch screen panels, instrument displays that can switch between digital or analog readouts, and a 2,200-watt Naim audio unit that pump out tunes to 20 speakers scattered around the interior, including an active pair embedded in the seats. Every piece of furniture in there is power-operated, too.
Propelling the Continental GT is a 6.0-liter W12 — that’s 12 cylinders in a “W” formation — engine that, through two turbochargers, produces 635 hp and 900 Nm. An eight-speed dual-clutch transmission sends this output over to all four wheels. Top speed? 333 kph.
In Mulliner spec, the Continental GT is hauled down from speed by the largest brake discs ever to be fitted on a production car, which are grabbed by 10-piston calipers. The car rolls on 22-inch, open-spoke, hand-polished alloy wheels, which are suspended by Bentley’s Dynamic Ride System. This feature lets the car ride as comfortably as possible, yet still be agile to drive.
When Bentley said the Continental GT is designed and engineered to be the best grand touring car in the world, it was not spouting empty marketing slogans. The Continental GT is the best grand touring car in the world. — Brian M. Afuang