Bentley Continental GT review
Porsche Panamera underpinnings help push the new Bentley Continental GT to the top of its class
Since its introduction in the early 2000s the Bentley Continental GT has been a runaway success and, following a few facelifts during the intervening years, this new version successfully reinvigorates the coupe’s appeal with a raft of changes that catapult it to the top of the class. The latest model’s styling grabs the eye, while the fabulously luxurious and lavishly equipped interior feels a cut above anything else you can buy for the money. Throw in a thoroughly reworked driving experience that – courtesy of a new chassis shared with the Porsche Panamera – brings a thrilling level of responsiveness, plus Bentley’s muscular 4.0-litre V8 or 6.0-litre W12 engines, and the recipe for the world’s greatest GT car is complete.
The luxury ‘grand touring’ coupe market has always offered an array of drool-worthy exotics, and the latest Bentley Continental GT arrives in a marketplace with some formidable rivals. A four-seat cabin and £150k-plus price point throw the Conti GT into battle with the Aston Martin DB11 coupe, the (£50k more expensive) Ferrari GTC4 Lusso, the Mercedes-AMG GT and S-Class coupes, the Maserati GranTurismo and Porsche 911.
It’s a critical model for Bentley, and follows in the footsteps of a predecessor that earned unprecedented sales success for the marque. It was the first model developed under VW Group ownership when Bentley split from Rolls-Royce in 1998, and it brought the Bentley brand to the attention of a new breed of customer far removed from the traditional ‘English gent’ who had previously typified Bentley owners.
The first generation Continental GT arrived in 2003, and a revised version arrived in 2011. That makes this the third-generation Continental GT, and it’s a step-change in technology and driving performance from its predecessors.
First-generation cars were based around a VW Phaeton platform, with a four-wheel-drive system and turbocharged version of that car’s W12 engine. Now, however, the new version sits on a platform shared with the Porsche Panamera, with Bentley engineers helping to specify the platform’s spec from the start.
The Continental GT is available with two engines: a 6.0 W12 that’s a further development of the unit launched in the Bentayga and a 4.0-litre V8 that’s similar to that found in other VW Group cars like the Porsche Panamera.
There’s also a Continental GT Convertible, boasting a fabric roof that can fold in just 19 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph. Bentley revealed a Continental GT3 racing car in 2018, which may herald the arrival of a road-going GT3 variant in due course.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingPorsche Panamera underpinnings help push the new Bentley Continental GT to the top of its class
- 2Engines, performance and driveNew chassis tech combined with blistering performance make the Continental GT a thrilling driver’s car
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsExpensive to buy, expensive to run and potentially expensive to sell… but what did you expect?
- 4Interior, design and technologyCutting edge tech and contemporary style mean the new Continental GT gives nothing away to rivals
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceSupreme luxury, room for four passengers and plenty of boot space make this a practical GT
- 6Reliability and SafetyRigorous development and top-notch technology should reassure buyers