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Bentley finds new levels of luxury and performance

Bentley Continental GT Coupe (18 on) - rated 0 out of 5
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PROS

  • Sensational performance
  • Great levels of comfort and refinement
  • Beautiful cabin
  • Much improved agility over previous model

CONS

  • Pricey options
  • Rather thirsty
  • Not much room in the back
  • Expensive to run

At a glance

New price £148,855 - £180,505
Used price £126,525 - £166,765
Fuel economy 23 - 23 mpg
Road tax cost £465

PROS

  • Sensational performance
  • Great levels of comfort and refinement
  • Beautiful cabin
  • Much improved agility over previous model

CONS

  • Pricey options
  • Rather thirsty
  • Not much room in the back
  • Expensive to run

Bentley Continental GT Coupe rivals

The Continental GT revolutionised the Bentley business. At a stroke, a company that served only the super rich suddenly had an entry-level car for the merely very affluent. Just over a year after its 2003 launch, the Continental GT single-handedly quintupled Bentley’s global sales.

For this third-generation car the goal was to broaden the Continental's appeal further still, by expanding its breadth of abilities. In particular, to ramp up driver appeal – the key area where it lagged behind rivals such as the Aston Martin DB11 and Ferrari GTC4 Lusso.

Yet, crucially, Bentley didn’t want to sacrifice luxury and comfort, where the old Conti was always strong.

Developed as a Bentley from the beginning

The old Continental GT rode on a platform borrowed from a big Volkswagen saloon, the Phaeton. The new one uses an architecture co-developed with Porsche (for its Panamera). This time, the Bentley engineers were involved from the beginning. ‘We got exactly what we wanted,’ notes Andy Unsworth, head of chassis dynamics.

Metal used in the body is nearly all aluminum and four big air springs – 60% bigger than before – cushion the car from road imperfections. Ride quality is outstanding. It also uses the same 48-volt electronic anti-roll control as the big Bentayga SUV. This not only reduces roll, it improves overall body control and ride comfort.

Choice of engines

Launched initially with a 6.0-litre W  configuration engine, a V8 followed later on. The former is essentially new - lighter than before, 7.5% more powerful, and 25% torquier. With 630hp, it’s a hugely powerful unit, and performance is supercar sensational: 0-62 in 3.7 seconds, and 207mph top speed.

The smaller engine (if you can call it that) displaces 4.0-litres and boosts power with two turbos for 550hp and 770 Nm of torque - stout numbers indeed. This means a 3.9 second 0-62mph and an impressive range of more than 500 miles.

Either way, the gearbox is new to Bentley. The old car had a conventional automatic, while the new one gets a modified version of the Porsche-developed twin-clutch eight-speed PDK transmission. In the Sport driving mode, paddle shifts are lightning fast. In Comfort the shifts are automatic, and seamless.

Bentley Continental GT 2019 interior

As before, four-wheel drive ensures extra grip and stability. However, more of the drive is now sent to the back wheels, to give a rear-drive sports car feel, and to boost agility.

The biggest dynamic change over the old car is its precision and driving engagement. Select Sport and feedback is sharp, the steering precise, and the gearshifts swift – and you get dramatic burble and bark from the bellowing exhaust. It is a thrilling car, and feels like a good two-door sports coupé.

Body control, at high speed, is superb. It is still not as agile as the best supercars, or as the rival (and lighter) Aston Martin DB11. But it’s way better than the old Continental GT.

Exquisite cabin

And it’s also more comfortable and pampering than a Ferrari or Aston when you just want to waft along, enjoying the scenery. The cabin is eerily quiet and superbly luxurious, featuring 10 square metres of beautifully varnished wood and 15 leather hides, all exquisitely stitched.

The downside of all this luxury, and the vast 12-cylinder engine, is mass. At 2,244kg, it's a very heavy car, though 80kg lighter than before.

Unsurprisingly, it is also far from cheap. It’s a Bentley, after all. Tick a few worthwhile options and you can easily spend another £40,000.

Can this big coupe really be worth an equally large price tag? Read our full Bentley Continental GT review to find out.

Bentley Continental GT Coupe rivals

Other Bentley Continental GT models: