The Continental GT adds a GT Speed variant for 2008 that cranks out a blistering 600 horsepower, compared to the regular GT's 552 hp. Both cars boast styling changes from last year's GT. In the $200,000 exotic-car range, Bentley's coupes represent a more civilized — if not quite as sporty — alternative to the rip-snorters from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin.
According to Bentley, the Continental GT was "conceived to be a sporting coupe without rival." Striking in design, it's a full four-seater with all-wheel drive. Bentley says the GT can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and the GT Speed does it in 4.3 seconds. Both cars top out around 200 mph.
Options include a two-tone hide-trimmed steering wheel, cross-stitching on the seats and door panels, and Vavona and Olive Ash wood veneers. Voice activation for the in-car phone works in six languages. Carpets and seat belts can be matched to the main or secondary interior hue. The Continental Flying Spur sedan and Continental GTC convertible share many components with the GT; both are listed separately in the Cars.com Research section.
Exterior changes include a new grille that's more vertical and squared-off. There are also restyled quad headlights and a new bumper with a wider air intake. The GT Speed has a darker grille and larger tailpipes.
The Continental GT's appearance is far removed from the subtly sporty designs of Bentley's past models, which were comparatively sedate. Designers sought to blend traditional Bentley hallmarks and hand craftsmanship with a contemporary profile and advanced technology. Featuring pillarless styling, the Continental GT has a minimal front overhang and pronounced rear fenders. Nineteen-inch wheels are standard, while the GT Speed wears 20-inchers.
A flush-mounted rear spoiler rises automatically at high speeds. Air springs contain electronic dampers, which have been tuned for improved ride comfort on the Continental GT. The steering system has also been recalibrated for better feedback. The GT Speed has even more precise steering, as well as racier suspension tuning and a slightly lower ride height.
Four people can enjoy the Continental GT coupe. According to Bentley, 6-foot-tall occupants fit easily in the front and rear seats. Interior designers worked with basketball players to ensure that people of all sizes and shapes could be accommodated. Leather upholstery comes in a choice of colors. Various types of wood interior trim can be specified.
A symmetrical dashboard mates with a center console that rises and curves to the sides in a shape resembling the design of the Bentley wing insignia. Most routine controls can be operated from the steering wheel. For 2008, the driver information display offers new Thin Film Technology for a clearer readout. Satellite radio is standard, and there's a new dashboard clock. The Bluetooth telematics system has been enhanced with expanded cell-phone compatibility and voice dialing features. Options include a three-spoke steering wheel and backup camera.
A Mulliner Driving Specification edition of the Continental GT adds drilled alloy pedals, quilted leather and a chrome and leather gearshift. The Mulliner package is standard on the GT Speed.
Under the Hood
Operating with twin turbochargers, the four-overhead-cam 6.0-liter W-12 generates 552 hp at 6,100 rpm and 479 pounds-feet of torque at just 1,600 rpm in the Continental GT. The GT Speed has an upgraded version of the same engine; it makes 600 hp at 6,000 rpm and 553 pounds-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm. The six-speed ZF automatic transmission has a manual-shift provision. All-wheel drive is standard.
Ventilated disc brakes have Bosch antilock technology with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. High-performance carbon ceramic brakes are optional. The standard electronic stability system adds a Sport Traction mode that allows more wheelspin at lower speeds. Side-impact and side curtain airbags are standard.