By Shereen Shabnam
Driving a Bentley is always a delight and this year, I drove their best models back to back over a few weeks. One of my favourites was the Bentley Motors new Continental GT, the definitive Grand Tourer designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain, combining spirited and focused performance with cutting-edge technology.
As a hard core driver, I find that most high end luxury cars are great to drive but not practical for day to day use but the beauty of this model is that you get to drive the car for your everyday chores while enjoying a powerful car with four seats, improved luggage capacity and luxurious cabin.
The exterior design of the new Continental GT is based on a bold new vision that is unmistakably Bentley. While the Continental GT retains the usual classic elegance, the form of the new car is more sculptural and sharply defined. However, some key signature lines of the original Continental still dominate, such as the ‘power line’ travelling from the headlights to the muscular rear haunch.
A choice of three audio systems is offered in the new 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 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. However, when we press the engine start button, the veneer in the middle of the dashboard glides silently forward and rotates to reveal Bentley’s largest-ever touchscreen, a 12.3” retina-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 new Continental GT’s 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 new powertrain uses the very latest engine management technology, with 300 million software calculations per second. It produces 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, and accelerates the new Continental GT to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds), and on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph).
The all-new Continental GT redefines personalisation and bespoke luxury. Paint, leather, veneer and lifestyle options are virtually unlimited and tailored to the individual. The standard palette alone comprises 17 exterior paint colours, with up to 70 hues. There are also 15 luxurious carpet options, eight different handcrafted veneers and 15 choices of interior trim hide, which means that customers are able to specify their own choice of luxury finish.
Clearly Bentley’s desire to offer customers the very best cars in the world with unsurpassed levels of luxury and performance and with fuel economy, reduce emissions for sustainable drive technologies for the future is achieved with the Continental GT.