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Used Bentley Continental GT (Mk2, 2010-2018) review - How practical is it?

A roomy cabin and decent boot space make the Continental a true Grand Tourer

For luxury grand touring, a combination of effortless power, chassis poise and compliant suspension mean things don’t get much better than the charismatic Continental V8 S – or the W12 version if you want a waftier feel. However, for its size, there’s no denying the practical limitation of cramped rear seats, and while the interior is beautifully trimmed, all that expensive wood and leather does demand a certain amount of respect from the occupants.

The back seat is of limited value for adults except for short trips, but it adds to the roomy feel and, of course, provides lots of extra storage – in addition to the roomy glove box and centre console cubby.

Visibility out of the car is fine, but the long bonnet and swoopy rear three-quarter lines mean care is required for urban manoeuvring.

Dimensions and cabin design

The Continental is a big car, and a heavy one, weighing-in at a hefty 2,295kgs for the V8 model and 2,320kgs for the W12.

At 4,807mm long it’s not quite as big as a Mercedes S-Class Coupe though (5,027mm), and once you’re acclimatised to the Bentley’s proportions it’s not a difficult car to place on the road.

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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 – a surprise considering how big the car is on the outside. The low roofline and small rear windows don’t help rear passengers feel at home, either.

Boot space

At least the 358-litre boot is decently proportioned and well shaped. And while the rear bench doesn’t fold flat, few people will buy a Continental GT for its practicality – indeed, they’ve probably already got a Range Rover in the garage, or perhaps a Bentley Bentayga SUV.

Equipment and technology 

The second Bentley Continental GT was an evolution of the original, and the car is built around the Volkswagen Group’s D1 large car platform, which appeared in 2002 underpinning the VW Phaeton limo. The same engineering tech is featured beneath the Bentley Continental Flying Spur that arrived in 2005.

The V8 S and Speed models get subtle but sporty bodykits that don’t detract from the classy style. Mulliner Driving Spec (which is standard on the Speed) also gives you a few more bits and pieces, bigger 21-inch alloys for example and a plusher, sportier cabin with quilted hand-stitched leather on the seats.

The 2015 facelift brought along lightly restyled looks, with revised bumpers and altered badging. You'll have to be a diehard fan to tell them apart, but new paint colours and alloy wheel designs help lift the exterior.

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. Bentley also encourages buyers to create their own style with a limitless variety of bespoke colour and trim options available – on top of the array of ‘standard’ colours and finishes for leather, stitching and wood veneers. Look out for some ‘interesting’ variants when buying used.

In 2015, extra chrome and gloss black trim were added, as well as new leather choices, LED ambient lighting and tech such as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Continental GT features a large touchscreen navigation system with live traffic data and online searching for point of interest info. The 30GB hard drive system also features full European mapping and satellite landscape imaging. Bluetooth connectivity is standard, but buyers could upgrade to a Wi-Fi hotspot as well.

There’s an eight-speaker, eight-channel music system as standard, and some cars feature the upgraded 15-channel system with 11 speakers developed by British audio firm NAIM.

Safety

Safety is well-covered, not least because the car features standard four-wheel drive, giving terrific grip even in adverse conditions. It’s also worth looking for cars with carbon-ceramic brakes if you are an enthusiastic driver. They provide awesome stopping power for such a heavy machine.

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