Bentley Continental GT review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Luxury Bentley Continental GT is a hugely accomplished grand tourer, especially in V8 guise

For: 
V8 performance, handling, luxury interior
Against: 
Running costs, price, footballer image

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This second-generation Bentley Continental GT sticks to the popular formula established by the original and provides strong competition for the likes of Aston Martin and Mercedes.

The hand-built two-door four-seater coupe is made to the highest standards, with a luxury cabin that offers superb comfort. Two engines are offered: the 6.0-litre W12 from the original Conti GT and a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 available in standard or S spec, which offers an extra 21bhp.

We’d go for the latter, as it offers similar performance to the W12, has better handling and fuel economy, plus a great V8 soundtrack. If you want a supreme luxury grand tourer that can carry four in ultimate luxury, and still be an entertaining driver’s car, the Continental GT is a great choice.

Our choice: Continental GT V8 S

Styling

3.6

The second Bentley Continental GT is an evolution of the original, with a low and wide stance and a big mesh grille up front, leaving no doubt about this car’s origins.

The V8 S and Speed models get very subtle bodywork additions that don’t detract from the classy style, plus bigger wheels. Mulliner Driving Spec also gives you a few more bits and pieces, bigger alloys for example and a plusher, sportier cabin.

Inside, Bentley’s usual high standards have been maintained, with luxurious leather trim, deep pile carpets and a distinctive dashboard finished with leather and turned aluminium. 

Driving

4.5

The Bentley Continental GT is a big car, and it shows in corners. Four-wheel drive means there’s lots of grip, but the W12 Conti GT rolls in bends – it’s better as a long-distance cruiser. As for the new V8 S, it provides the best blend of handling (superb for such a big car), but still with the ability to waft along.

In terms of performance, the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in S trim is as fast as the more expensive W12, offering huge acceleration and fantastic mid-range overtaking pace. The GT Speed is the fastest Bentley yet, boasting a top speed of 205mph and a firmer suspension set-up, but the lighter V8 feels more nimble.

Reliability

4.2

The Continental GT is new, but it uses tried and tested parts from the VW Group. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is all-new, but is going to be used in top-of-the-range cars from Audi and Porsche, too, so has been tested thoroughly before its introduction. Bentley offers a unlimited mileage, three-year warranty, while pre-paid servicing packs are also available through dealers.

Practicality

3

There’s plenty of room for two up front in the Continental GT, but those in the back seats will find there’s not much legroom - which is a surprise considering how big the Conti GT is on the outside. The low roofline and small rear windows don’t help matters, either. At least the 358-litre boot is well-shaped. And while the rear bench doesn’t fold flat, few people will buy a Conti for its practicality.

Running Costs

2.4

You don’t buy a Bentley if you’re worried about running costs. Even so, we’d still choose the V8 S version over the W12. Cylinder-deactivation technology and an eight-speed gearbox helps it return 26.9mpg - compared to 19.5mpg for the W12 - but it’s pretty much as quick as the bigger-engined models and it still has an incredible 192mph top speed, so in everyday driving you’re not missing out in the way of performance.

Last updated: 10 Mar, 2014

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