Used Bentley Continental GT (Mk3, 2018-date) review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Bentley Continental GT covering the Continental GT Mk3 that has been on sale since 2018

Verdict

The Bentley Continental GT has it all, but you pay for the privilege of owning one. It’s beautifully built, effortless to drive, classy and gloriously comfortable. With Bentley buyers invariably taken by the Bentayga SUV, the Continental GT is even more exclusive than you might think; as a result, there aren’t as many used examples as you might expect, with convertibles even rarer. As Bentley moves towards electrification, the Continental GT is likely to be the firm’s last car to come without a battery pack, so it could even be collectible in the future.

Way back in 1919 when Bentley built its first car, it was independent, but by 1931 it had been swallowed up by Rolls-Royce.

For the next 70 years most of Bentley’s products were little more than rebadged Rolls-Royces, but in 1998 the two firms separated, with Bentley now owned by the Volkswagen Group. Five years later we saw the revitalised marque’s first all-new car, the Continental GT coupé.

It was the tonic that Bentley needed, and sold in large numbers globally once saloon (Flying Spur) and convertible editions joined the range. An all-new Continental GT was launched 15 years later and it was faster, more hi-tech and more luxurious than ever. A highly accomplished grand tourer, the Continental GT is undeniably multi-talented, as you’d expect for such a costly car.

History

The Continental GT coupé arrived in April 2018, powered by a 626bhp 6.0-litre W12 engine and fitted with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. By the end of that year, an open-topped version had been unveiled. Now known as the Continental GT Convertible (previous generations were sold as the Continental GTC) and mechanically identical to the coupé, first deliveries of this car took place early the following year.

In September 2019 a 542bhp twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine was added to the range alongside the W12, and was available as a coupé or convertible. The most powerful Continental GT yet was unleashed in March 2021: the 650bhp Speed. At first only a coupé was offered, but within a month the Continental GT Convertible Speed was revealed, with the same running gear underneath as its hard-top sibling.

Which one should I buy?

Standard kit on all Continental GT coupés and convertibles included 21-inch alloys, adjustable air suspension, LED matrix headlights, front and rear parking sensors and power-folding door mirrors.

Also fitted were a reversing camera, Nappa leather trim, 12-way electrically adjustable front seats, multi-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, navigation and a 10-speaker 650-watt hi-fi.

Regular options included extra paint colours, wood veneers, upgraded leathers, a heated windscreen, adaptive cruise control, and Naim or Bang & Olufsen stereo systems. Also offered were 22-inch wheels, a space-saver spare wheel, an in-dash TV and a factory-fitted tracking system.

Alternatives to the Bentley Continental GT

There are quite a few cars available for similar money to the Bentley, but that doesn’t make them direct alternatives as such. Perhaps the closest rival is the Rolls-Royce Wraith and its convertible sibling, the Dawn, both of which are opulent, have lots of power, and are suitably expensive to buy as well as to run.

Three other options are the Aston Martin DB11, the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Ferrari 812 Superfast, all of which come in open or coupé forms, and all of which are arguably more driver-focused than the Bentley. The three all blend luxury with power, and are superbly made and exclusive. The Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG have no rear seats, but even the Aston is best seen as a two-seater, because its back seats are so cramped. 

Another pair of options are the Mercedes S-Class coupé and cabriolet, which don’t quite have the Bentley’s gravitas, but are extremely impressive all the same.

What to look for

Glass roof

The panoramic glass roof is worth having, because it really opens up the Continental GT’s cabin. It cost £3,150 as an option.

Brakes

The optional carbon-ceramic brakes keep their bite much better than the standard-fit items, but replacement costs for these are high.

Engine tech

Cylinder deactivation lets the W12 run on six cylinders; the V8 is barely any more frugal. Neither returns much more than 20mpg.

Display

A must-have option is the three-sided rotating display in the centre of the dashboard, featuring a touchscreen, a slab of veneer and analogue gauges.

Common faults

We don’t have any Driver Power data for the Continental Mk3, and no Bentley owners have reported faults directly to us. However, there are reports online of issues relating to the car’s suspension, brakes, and electrics.

Interior

As you’d expect, the GT’s cabin is something truly special, with only premium materials everywhere: leather, wood, carbon fibre and polished, brushed or turned aluminium. The switchgear is unique to the model and it’s well laid out so that you can find everything. With lots of buttons, you don’t have to control everything via the touchscreen.

The front seats are supremely comfortable on even the longest journey, but the back seats are best suited to children or small adults, thanks to a shortage of head and legroom. It’s not as though the boot is large to compensate; at 358 litres, it’s smaller than the average small family hatchback’s.

Recalls

Bentley has recalled the Continental GT five times. The first was in January 2019 because of power steering glitches; the fix was a software update. Two campaigns in July 2019 covered faulty software that needed updating and a power steering wiring harness that could short circuit. A new loom was needed to rectify this.

The fourth recall came in June 2020, because a couple of cars made in January of that year were fitted with a poorly secured sunroof. The most recent action was issued in January 2021 because 393 Continental GT convertibles were fitted with a roof that could be activated if the person holding the key was standing beyond the maximum six metres allowed. A software update was all that was needed for the cars, which were all built between August 2019 and July 2020.

Running costs

The Continental GT needs servicing every 12 months or after 10,000 miles, with the first three check-ups costing £975, £1,295 and £1,695. Once a car reaches its fourth birthday it’s eligible for discounted maintenance, with services alternating between minor and major, priced at £799 and £1,199. Independent specialists can trim these costs, but thanks to high parts prices, you can never expect a Continental to be cheap to run.

The brake fluid needs changing every two years and this costs £195 to do on its own, while fresh coolant every five years will set you back £215. There are no cambelts to replace, because both the V8 and W12 engines are chain-driven.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

As a niche seller, the Bentley Continental GT doesn’t appear in our new or used Driver Power surveys; and the company as a whole doesn’t appear in our brands section. There aren’t even any reader reviews on CarBuyer.co.uk to give an insight into the ownership experience, but whether or not the type of person who buys a new Bentley has the time or inclination to fill out ownership surveys is a moot point.

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