Barnstorming Bentley is pure class

Bentley Continental

By Bill McCarthy

Outrageous, said my 16-year-old passenger as he stepped out of the the Bentley. Awesome, said his 14-year-old sister. Pretty much summed up the new Continental GT, a car which never failed to attract attention.

German owned, by VW, but British designed and built, it is close to the ultimate in motoring luxury, decadence even, and cutting edge technology.

It looks strong muscular and predatory, despite being lighter and more rigid, sitting low to the ground and hinting at the 626bhp lurking under the bonnet.

With the massive grille, flanked by new crystal-effect LED headlamps and new rear elliptical lamps reflecting the silhouette of the exhaust tail pipes below them, plus the use 21-inch alloy wheels means you cannot mistake the fact it is a Bentley.

Exuding power from the outside, the interior is like an executive suite on wheels, with top range leather and deep pile carpets (some optional) and top end soft touch finish throughout.

Is it well equipped? Well, it costs just shy of £160,000, so yes. It has just about anything you can think of, or so you thought, from the classy puddle lights to the high-end Bang & Olufsen 16-speaker sound system to the  20-way adjustable seats with (optional) cooling, heating and massage functions. But the list of optional extras is eye watering if you have a spare 48 grand or so knocking about to give a total price for this model of £207k.

It is sumptuous inside, a riot of handcrafted wood and leather of choice and chrome, together with jewellery-inspired diamond knurled finish switchgea and clock bezels.

However the piece de resistance must be the, optional, Bentley Rotating Display. Start the engine and a flat, veneered section of the facia physically rotates to reveal the 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen. A further rotation reveals another panel, this one with three analogue dials: a compass, a temperature gauge and chronograph timer.

Even when driving without the central touchscreen visible, all information is visible in the digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel.

The touchscreen operates main functions of the car including Apple and Adroid connectivity, sound system and climate control. and the sat nav, 60gb hard drive, optional sirius satellite radio and Google street view.

As a two-door Grand Tourer it is pretty much a 2+2, with the rear seats only really any good for adults over a short distance, and more suitable for children. But boot space is also surprisingly good with 358 litres available.

The business end of course is performance. The awesome 626bhp, W12 TSI engine delivers staggering pace, through a seamless eight-speed dual clutch transmission. The 900Nm of torque also delivers massive pulling power.

Floor the accelerator and the twin turbocharged beast is capable of hitting 60mph in a neck-wrenching 3.7 seconds and on, where permitted, to a top speed of 207mph.

Care is needed, too heavy footed and you are exceeding the speed limit in the blink of an eye.

The power is all well and good, but it needs to be kept in a straight line and that where the new four wheel drive kicks in. The vehicle will use rear-wheel drive as much as possible during normal driving, but the system will send drive to the front axle as required. 

For better economy, the Variable Displacement system shuts intake and exhaust valves, fuel injection and ignitionwith the engine running as a six-cylinder for improved efficiency.

This saves fuel obviously allowing the Bentley to reach a better than expected 21mpg claimed.

There are three drive modes, including Comfort, Bentley mode or Sport  were  the suspension, engine, gearbox and other chassis systems will modify to match the selected mode. Alternatively, the driver can personalise his or her own dynamic settings.

Safety is vital with such a powerful car and the GT kit, some optional, features huge brake callipers, stability and traction control, a full complement of airbags and features including Active Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Park Assist with 360 degree all round cameras.

Power, poise and exceptional styling, the kids were right, it’s outrageous and awesome.

Factfile

Bentley Continental GT

Price: £159,100

Mechanical: 626bhp, 5958cc, 12 cylinder petrol engine driving all wheels via 8-speed auto gearbox

Max speed: 207mph

0-60mph: 3.7 seconds

Combined mpg: 23.3

Insurance group: 50

CO2 emissions: 278g/km

BiK rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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