When it was introduced in 2003, the Continental GT served as a renaissance car for Bentley and returned the legendary British carmaker to a position of cultural and social status it had not enjoyed for more than 70 years. These days, Bentley is very much alive and well, and the GT continues to be a flagship worthy of the marque.
For 2008, Bentley offers the car in three flavors--the Continental GT coupe, Continental GTC convertible, and Continental GT Speed. All are high-performance machines, and none will disappoint.
As expected of a luxury supercar, the GT, GTC, and GT Speed want for very little. All are powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0L W12 engine, but while the GT and GTC put out 552 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque (at just 1,600 rpm), the Speed takes things further and delivers 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. Performance is stunning; all can travel at three times standard interstate speeds and each achieves 60 mph in under 5 seconds, with the GT Speed reaching the mark in just 4.3 seconds. All utilize a six-speed automatic transmission, as well as air suspension and an advanced all-wheel drive system with traction and stability control. The GT and GTC ride on 19-inch wheels, while 20-inch alloys hold the tires on the Speed.
Interiors feature premium leather in one of 17 colors, Burr Walnut veneer, a DVD navigation and infotainment system, Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, six-disc CD changer, and column-mounted paddle shifters. The Speed comes with diamond-quilted seating surfaces and doors, with the Bentley emblem embroidered into the seats. It is also set apart by drilled alloy pedals, a sport gear lever, and a three-spoke sport steering wheel. The GTC incorporates a premium fabric power top in one of five colors with a glass rear window.
Options on the GT and GTC include a rear parking camera, front seat lumbar massage, carbon-ceramic brakes, special interior veneer inserts, a multitude of alloy wheels, and a choice of three-spoke sport steering wheels. Many of these come standard on the GT Speed. Additionally, through Bentley's in-house troupe of craftsmen--Mulliner--all Continentals can be customized in nearly any way to suit any and all tastes.
Bentley's Continental GT boasts subtle design and mechanical changes for 2008, and it sheds 77 pounds. Front end styling has been revised; the grille is now more upright, the bumper sits lower and contains a wider air intake, and the quad headlights carry a new design. Engine internals have been changed as well, and while the W12 still puts out 552 horsepower, it does so with a new camshaft chain, new crankcase, and a new engine management system, which reduces fuel consumption and emissions. The car also features several minor tweaks to the chassis, steering, and suspension systems, and a "Sport Traction" mode has been added to the traction control system.
New standard features in the GT as well as the GTC convertible include Sirius satellite radio, a better Bluetooth system, an embossed "B" in the brake pedal, and a new Breitling clock. New options include carbon-ceramic brakes, a three-spoke steering wheel, a backup camera, and several new colors.
Perhaps most importantly, the GT has also been severely tweaked to create another model--the GT Speed. The Speed gets 602 horsepower from the W12 thanks to a host of internal engine changes, including new pistons, connecting rods, and timing chain. The Speed wears a darker front grille and rides lower than the standard GT. It also uses an improved, faster Servotronic steering system, which can be put to use on the way to the car's top speed of 202 mph.
Bold, sexy, distinctive design; sophisticated, powerful W12 engine; ultra-comfortable interior; exclusivity; available as a convertible.
Bentley has few rivals in the world of ultra-luxurious supercars. As a true four-seater capable of maintaining blistering triple-digit speeds all day, there is perhaps no more comfortable, exotic, or classy way to get from Point A to Point B. The open GTC loses little in the way of performance and adds much in the way of "see and be seen," while the addition of the GT Speed takes the popular model even further, putting it on a pedestal that rivals like Ferrari and Aston Martin must try hard to achieve.
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