THE DEFINITIVE, LUXURY GRAND TOURER
Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain, the third-generation Bentley Continental GT combines spirited, focused performance with handcrafted luxury and cutting-edge technology, to create the finest Grand Tourer ever produced.
At the heart of the Continental GT sits either Bentley’s renowned 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 TSI engine, or emotional 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8. Both mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission, for faster, more efficient gear changes.
A technically advanced, adaptive chassis uses Bentley’s intelligent 48-volt Dynamic Ride System to ensure a responsive ride and exceptional handling and refinement in all road conditions. The system controls ride comfort and lateral roll, cushioning passengers from excessive movement as well as making the car feel effortlessly precise.
The muscular exterior design, created using revolutionary technology, results in a lightweight, yet stiff, body. The engine is positioned further back to improve weight distribution, resulting in driver-focused, dynamic performance.
Offering four seats and improved luggage capacity for genuine real-world usability, the Bentley Continental GT’s luxurious cabin is packed with exquisite details such as a ‘diamond in diamond’ leather design. In addition, significant work has gone into harmonising the extensive portfolio of 15 colours across hides and carpets.
The Continental GT also showcases major evolutions in Bentley’s unique application of technology. An advanced, fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel and Bentley Rotating Display for the driver are among the suite of innovations. The latter features an impressive 12.3” touchscreen housed in a three-sided unit, which revolves the veneer to reveal the touchscreen as well as three elegant analogue dials.
The interior design of the Continental GT is tailored specifically to the modern luxury customer, with unrivalled attention to detail that creates an effortless ownership experience. The cabin seamlessly integrates cutting-edge onboard technology with the finest handcrafted natural materials. The result is an exquisite, harmonised, connected and luxurious space.
Sublime Power: The Beating Heart of Bentley
The Continental GT family uses two powertrains dependent on model. The GT Mulliner and GT Speed centre around the iconic W12, whilst the Azure and S take full advantage of the benefits of the V8.
Designed, developed and handbuilt in Crewe, the W12 TSI engine is the most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world. The unique ‘W’ configuration means that the engine is 24 per cent shorter than an equivalent V12, benefitting weight distribution and maximising usable cabin space.
The powertrain uses the very latest engine management technology, with 300 million software calculations per second. It produces 659 PS (650 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, and accelerates the Continental GT to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds), and on to a top speed of 335 km/h (207 mph).
A dedicated Sport Launch mode delivers maximum acceleration through careful clutch pressure sensing and pre-loading when a race-style start is required by the driver.
The W12 TSI combines high-pressure direct fuel injection with low-pressure injection. The combination of these two systems maximises refinement, lowers particulate emissions and optimises power and torque delivery.
The revised engine utilises Start-Stop technology and, in Bentley’s advanced application, coasting is also made possible. The engine rests not only when the vehicle is stationary but also at near-to-stop speeds.
Bentley’s Variable Displacement system shuts down half of the engine under defined conditions. Intake and exhaust valves, fuel injection and ignition are all shut down on defined cylinders, with the engine running as a six-cylinder for improved efficiency.
The new-generation 4.0-litre, 32-valve V8 petrol engine develops 542 bhp (550 PS) and 568 lb.ft (770 Nm) of torque. It also features dual twin-scroll turbochargers located inside the ‘V’ of the engine, together resulting in a top speed of 198 mph (318 km/h) and 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.0 seconds).
Spirited performance from the eight-speed V8 models is complemented by refined efficiency, stemming partly from the ability of the engine to de-activate four of its eight cylinders in suitable conditions, without compromising the drive. The seamless change happens in just 20 milliseconds and is imperceptible to customers. Stop-Start technology, which operates at ‘near-to-stop’ speeds, is also available.
Significantly, a new dual-mass flywheel replaces the torque converter, to dampen out the oscillations of the driveline and provide a fittingly smooth power delivery for luxury touring.
The dual-clutch eight-speed transmission provides smooth acceleration, and impressively quick gearshifts, both hallmarks of the Continental GT’s dynamic character, as well as improved combined fuel economy.
Shift times are variable and depend on the selected driving mode. In Sport mode, shifts are seemingly instantaneous to deliver uninterrupted torque delivery and maximum acceleration performance. In Comfort mode, shifts are deliberately relaxed to allow for a seamless and imperceptible gear change.
Maximum speed is reached in seventh gear, with eighth gear acting as an overdrive gear for relaxed cruising.
A new Active All-Wheel-Drive System replaces the traditional 40:60 power delivery split between front and rear wheels respectively, instead varying the front-to-rear torque split dependent upon the driving situation. The vehicle will use rear-wheel drive as much as possible during normal driving for optimum efficiency and dynamic performance.
Based on the conditions and the driver’s behaviour, the system will send drive to the front axle as required. This reduces the understeer effect from fixed all-wheel drive, as well as increasing driver engagement for those who revel in the dynamic attributes of the Continental GT.
The Evolution of Bentley’s Famous Design DNA
The exterior design of the Continental GT is based on a bold vision that is unmistakably Bentley. The third generation GT body and materials save more than 80 kg over the previous model.
While the Continental GT retains the classic elegance that made its forebear so popular, the form of the car is more sculptural and sharply defined and takes much of its inspiration from the critically acclaimed EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car.
To allow for such a bold reimagining of the Continental GT, the aluminium skin has been crafted using Super Formed technology – a precision technique working with aluminium heated to 500°C which has previously been used on Bentley fenders. This method allows designers to invoke more complex, sharply defined body lines and a deeper, sculpted haunch muscle.
The Continental GT is the first production car ever to have an entire body side made from the Super Formed process.
The Continental GT’s profile is longer and lower due in part to the positioning of the front wheels 135 mm further forward, which in turn allows the bonnet to be extended and the nose to be lowered. However, the key signature lines of the original Continental still dominate, with the ‘power line’ travelling from the headlights to the muscular rear haunch.
The rear of the car is a radical styling departure, with the taillights now shaped into ellipses, reflecting the silhouette of the exhaust tail pipes below them.
The lighting on the Continental GT uses the latest LED Matrix technology, but it is the design of the head lamps that truly sets them apart. Inspired by the finest cut-crystal glasses, the internal surfaces are transparent with sharply defined edges that catch the light like a diamond.
The result is similar to that of an illuminated gem – an effect which is magnified when the optional welcome sequence gradually illuminates the headlights as you approach the car. The taillights also feature the cut-crystal effect, highlighting the three-dimensional depth of the optics.
The Continental GT has 21” wheels as standard, with other styles available, reflecting in turn the model’s elegant and sporting characters. Dependent upon which specification is chosen a 22” lightweight, forged wheels are also offered.
In another example of Bentley’s exacting attention to detail, and the unique way in which Bentley design often serves a dual engineering purpose, the elliptical exhausts have a complex perforated sleeve which adds visual detail but also reduces the exhaust temperature.
The Continental GT customer has a class-leading portfolio of 17 exterior paint colours to choose from – carefully selected to complement the character and lines of the car. In addition, a limited extended range of colours are available, as well as the option of full bespoke colour-matching for Bentley customers.
The Finest Handcrafted Cabin: A World of Hidden Delights
The interior of the Continental GT showcases Bentley’s unrivalled expertise in the authentic use of materials, from the highest-quality natural leathers, to rare, sustainably sourced veneers and hand-polished chrome details. For the first time, unique dual-veneer options are offered. Over 10 square metres of wood are used in each Continental GT, and it takes nine hours to create and fit the wooden inlays by hand.
The exquisitely styled dashboard of the Continental GT is sculpted by long, flowing wings that mirror the shape of the Bentley badge. A floating leather top flows seamlessly to the doors.
The centre console is finished to match the lower fascia, but can be specified in a technical finish that is inspired by the delicate mechanical surfacing inside the finest automatic Swiss watches, known as Côtes de Genève. This surface – a first in the automotive world – is machined onto 0.6 mm-thick aluminium and is created by machining from side to side to create a linear pattern. Each row is 5 mm wide and machined at an angle to give a truly three-dimensional finish, with each pass of the machine making a minute step of 0.5 mm.
New types of luxurious haptic finishes adorn the interior of the Continental GT for greater sensory, as well as visual, enjoyment. In some areas, pillow knurling replaces the traditional mechanical knurling, for a softer, more refined feel on switches and controls, while diamond knurling adds a luxurious touch using a detailed three-dimensional faceted surface.
The new knurling design is available on the iconic Bullseye vents, bezels and other primary control rotaries, and not only gives a finely faceted visual impact but provides a precise technical feel when operating the controls.
Another hidden delight is the addition of bronze inserts between surfaces on the primary controls, which adds a level of fine detailing never seen before.
The 20-way adjustable seats in the Continental GT set new industry standards in comfort and refinement. Smooth centre panels allow maximum efficiency for the cooling, heating and massage functions, while the bolsters retain the signature Bentley quilting.
A unique quilt is also available: called a ‘diamond in diamond’ quilt, the effect is of a floating quilted surface in a sea of leather, which is extraordinarily soft to touch. The interior pattern features both stitching and embroidery. The inner diamonds are embroidered, using a specially-designed machine that balances high speed with quality. Eighteen months were spent developing the embroidery, individually optimising and programming the exact alignment of each one of the 712 stitches that make up each diamond shape – an unrivalled attention to detail.
A choice of three audio systems is offered in the Continental GT. The standard system features 10 speakers and 650 Watts, while a Bang & Olufsen 1,500 W, 16-speaker system with illuminated speaker grilles is aimed at lifestyle-oriented customers. The Bang & Olufsen installation benefits from the first automotive application of the BeoSonic system – a new way for tone setting with a simple, intuitive one-touch user interface.
A Naim 2,200 W, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and eight sound modes is offered for the true audiophile.
In order to ensure optimal audio enjoyment, laminated acoustic glass is used for the windscreen and side windows, resulting in a nine-decibel reduction in exterior noise ingress versus the outgoing model.
Behind the wheel, the technological advancements in the Continental GT are striking. The driver-orientated instrument panel is now fully digital and configurable by the driver. While the main dials appear to be real, they are in fact digital graphics designed to look three-dimensional. This display can show information from across the infotainment system including satellite-navigation information.
The Continental GT features the innovative and industry-first Bentley Rotating Display. At first glance there appears to be no screen in the centre of the dashboard. Instead, the veneer flows uninterrupted across the dashboard, while a thin chrome bezel behind the steering wheel surrounds a digital instrument display.
When the engine start button is pressed, however, the veneer in the middle of the dashboard glides silently forward and rotates to reveal Bentley’s largest-ever touchscreen, a 12.3” high-definition-quality digital MMI display, elegantly designed by Bentley with a customer-configurable home screen with three windows able to display the driver’s preferred functions, for example, navigation, media and telephone.
The user interface is designed to be akin to a modern mobile phone and menus are structured to be instantly intuitive.
The third side on the Bentley Rotating Display reveals three elegant analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass and chronometer. Such an innovative use of traditional elements underscores Bentley’s unique commitment to the past and the future, and offers customers the choice of digital or analogue display or clean, calm cabin.
A Tour de Force of Technology
State-of-the-art technology was integral to designing the most luxurious Grand Tourer. The Continental GT is a fusion of cutting-edge electronics and artisan craftsmanship. It represents the very latest in Bentley’s forward-looking approach to technology, blending ease of use with exquisite design and functionality.
Featuring completely new electrical systems compared to its predecessor, the attention to detail paid by the development team is evident in every aspect of the car’s development. Even the electrical consumption was minimized to save energy, resulting in the reduction of 12V batteries from two to one.
Combined with the ground-breaking Bentley Rotating Display, up to 10 sophisticated Driver Assistance Systems are available to help the driver in a variety of situations. The Top View Camera gives an ingenious, overhead view of the car and its immediate surroundings via the image processing of pictures provided by four different cameras around the car. This is complemented by reverse traffic warning and self-parking features.
The Night Vision infrared camera is located in the front of the car and monitors the road up to 984.25 feet (300 meters) ahead, making driving in poorly lit environments much safer. It detects and warns of moving obstacles such as pedestrians and large animals, allowing them to be viewed in the digital instrument display.
Active Lane Assist provides gentle steering assistance if it detects any drifting across lane boundaries, while Blind Spot Assist monitors the area around the car, flashing lights in the door mirrors if the driver attempts to cross the path of another vehicle. An optional Head-Up Display projects relevant information, such as current speed, speed limit, driver assistance and navigation information vehicle speed, directly in to the driver’s line of sight.
Traffic Sign Recognition detects speed limits and zones in which overtaking is prohibited. When activated, its information is displayed in the digital instrument display and the Head-Up Display. Even temporary speed restrictions on roads can be detected.
A raft of class-leading connected car features help keep the driver in touch with a range of real-time functions and services. An integrated Wi-Fi hotspot allows up to eight phones or portable digital devices to be connected to the internet. Meanwhile, a suite of My Bentley services is on hand to enhance the driving experience.
Some features make the journey smarter, such as Apple CarPlay, which takes music, maps, contacts and more from an iPhone and delivers them via the car’s central touchscreen, and Satellite maps, which allows the navigation system to display photorealistic maps.
Other services make the car journey safer, such as Private eCall, which facilitates a two-way communication between car occupants and Bentley’s dedicated call centre in the event of an accident. Activated automatically on deployment of any of the airbags, it can also be accessed via an SOS button in the roof module overhead.
Packages of options also make it easier to commission collections of features together. City Specification includes Hands Free Trunk Opening, Pedestrian Warning, Reverse Traffic Warning and Automatic Dimming Mirrors. Touring Specification offers Lane Assist, Night Vision, Head-Up Display, Adaptive Cruise Control (with Traffic Jam Assist) and Bentley Safeguard Plus, with Emergency Lane Change Assist and Intersection Assist.
Located in front of the driver, the Digital Instrument Display introduces new graphics. It is fully configurable with ‘Classic’ and ‘Expanded’ views. The large 12.3-inch HD touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard can also be configured in a number of different ways – as a single display, split 2:1 or showing three different functions at the same time – and was designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind.
As with every Bentley, features are added to enhance the experience of driving and travelling in the car, but never to dominate it.
Unrivalled Grand Touring Ride and Handling
The third generation of Continental GT features Bentley Dynamic Ride, an advanced 48-volt roll control system for unrivalled car control. The system controls and adjusts the electronic actuators on the anti-roll bar of each axle and so improves handling and ride comfort, as well as making the car feel lighter and more precise.
This system instantly counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering and ensures maximum tyre-to-road contact to deliver class-leading ride comfort and exceptional handling.
While conventional anti-roll bars present a compromise between body control and ride comfort, Bentley’s active system provides variable torsional resistance, allowing the Continental GT to be both dynamically capable and comfortable for all occupants at all times. The use of a 48-volt system results in silent, instantaneous responses and sufficient power on hand to deal with all road surfaces.
Through Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Control different modes can be selected: Comfort mode, Bentley mode or Sport mode; the suspension, engine, gearbox and other chassis systems will modify to match the selected drive mode. Alternatively, the driver can personalise his or her own dynamic settings.
The air suspension on the Continental GT is revised and uses three-chamber air springs which give the car 60 per cent more air volume in the softest setting than the previous model. This allowed Bentley’s engineers more scope for tuning the suspension to improve the ride comfort and dynamic character of the car. The system offers the scope to vary from sporting spring stiffness to luxury limousine refinement depending upon which mode the driver has selected.
Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) is also featured on the Continental GT. The new system improves feedback to the driver, while providing isolation from unwanted road disturbances. The steering system features a variable rack ratio, allowing increased response with higher steering angles to aid manoeuvrability whilst maintaining excellent stability at high speeds. The introduction of EPAS also allows the Continental GT to be offered with a wide range of Driver Assistance features including Active Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Park Assist.
Another key feature is the latest-generation Continuous Damping Control (CDC), which constantly adjusts the damper forces to optimise comfort. The system continually measures the velocity and distance between the wheels and the body at each corner and also adjusts the air volume in the springs if necessary to ensure the optimum balance of comfort and handling. Both front and rear axles are of a lightweight aluminium construction, with multilink design at the front and rear.
The brakes, as always on the Continental GT, are bigger on the front axle, with a 15 mm increase in size to 420 mm to match the increased performance.
The exhaust tail pipes have also been revised, and now have an adaptive valve for greater tuning potential.