From £135,760
A good compromise between comfortable GT and rewarding performance car

Our Verdict

Bentley Continental GT

Full of character and still able to impress, particularly as a V8

What is it?

This is the new Bentley Continental GT, here to offer the same brazen attitude as its hugely popular predecessor, but with some of the less appealing qualities polished out.

Actually a very significant facelift, the highlights of the 2011 Conti GT include a new six-speed ZF auto gearbox that is claimed to reduce shift times by up to 50 per cent, an uprated version of the 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 that now puts out 567bhp, wider tracks, new chassis settings and a 40:60 power split rather than the previous model’s 50:50.

Now watch the Bentley Continental GT video review

What’s it like?

It’s just what was needed for this most popular of Crewe’s models. The active air suspension now offers excellent bump absorption (even on the optional 21-inch wheels) when in either of the two more forgiving of the four settings, even if body control becomes a tad too loose when settled into the softest mode.

Crucially, this more pliant ride quality (and the improved and now excellent cabin refinement) has enhanced the GT’s touring ability noticeably. It isolates the driver thoroughly and generally provides every-day road manners that are exactly what you would hope of such an over-indulgent coupe.

Initially the steering can feel a little synthetic and weighty for town-use, but push into slightly higher speeds and the weighting evens out nicely, the optional £11,020 carbon-ceramic brakes start to offer a delicacy of feel as well as outrageous stopping power and there is a general cohesion to the whole driving experience.

Best news of all is that the new GT remains well-resolved even if you choose to get a bit raucous. Yes, you are always aware of the 2.3-tonne weight, it still understeers a little too eagerly, and as soon as you stiffen up the suspension you’ll get sharp jolts regularly going through the dampers directly to your leather sports-seat ensconced buttocks. But it’s fun and it’s nimble in a way that it wasn’t previously, with the nose more willing to turn and the rear-bias power split bringing a more precise and encouraging response.

So it’s champagne all round for Bentley? Well, no, not quite. There are some irritations, the first of which is the gearbox, which does an excellent job much of the time – particularly in Sport or normal auto modes. But it can be a bit slow to respond to prods of the right pedal, and occasionally it will jump more cogs than you expected.

Also, for all that the 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbo’d engine is delightfully epic, it’s feeling a little left behind by the best out there in terms of drama if not in performance. And finally, though the list price is impressively competitive the standard equipment falls short of what you would expect.

Should I buy one?

Truthfully, these niggles are unlikely to stop anyone with the inclination and means to buy a Bentley from doing exactly that. As well they shouldn’t. This is now not only a truly great GT, it’s actually a pretty meaningful sports car, too.

Bentley Continental GT

Price: £135,760; Top speed: 198mph; 0-62mph: 4.6sec; Economy: 17.1mpg; Co2: 384g/km; Kerb weight: 2320kg; Engine type: 5998cc, W12, twin-turbo; Power: 567bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 516lb ft at 1700rpm; Gearbox: 6spd auto

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Comments
35

R32

23 May 2011

The car I'd most like to own this side of a Bugatti. However I'd sooner have the forthcoming all-new 4.0-litre V8-engined model that is planned by Bentley. It offers a 40% improvement in fuel consumption over the existing 6.0-litre W12 engine and Bentley claims on their website it will have little or no loss in performance over the W12. So that should mean two very large turbos bolted on (I hope).

23 May 2011

As good as this car may get, I'm sorry but for me it has an "image" and one I don't much care for. It's a bit too footballer for me.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 May 2011

[quote TegTypeR]As good as this car may get, I'm sorry but for me it has an "image" and one I don't much care for. It's a bit too footballer for me.[/quote]

I can definitely understand that view, and it seems like there's a country mile in perceived image alone between this and the more upmarket Bentley cars.

23 May 2011

It's not the footballer image that would put me off but the fact that this car is hideous in every way! The interior is really poor and not what a Bentley should be, the red steering wheel and all that chavvy aluminium is just tasteless! It's also ugly expensive and fuel economy is a joke.I mean 21 inch wheels on a Bentley? Definitely not! I'm sorry but in today's climate this car with that engine,that weight and those figures are not good enough! Ms Parrott should maybe drive an older classic Bentley to see what a proper Bentley should be like.

23 May 2011

I saw one on the road the other day and I have to say it looks worse than in the pictures - I mean, it really is ugly. I honestly can't understand why one would spend serious money on a monstrosity like this when you can have something gorgeous and better, like an Aston Martin DB9, or the new Virage.

23 May 2011

[quote Autocar]This is the new Bentley Continental GT[/quote] I'd have one in a deep shiny non-metallic black with toffee leather and deep walnut wood. I'll save my pennies

23 May 2011

The one thing this car has going against it (apart from the lotto winning chav image) is the sheer size of the thing. There has been a very lightly disguised one around the roads of Crewe/Nantwich area for ages now and it is absolutely massive. Not a car you'd want to thread along a tight twisty B-road.

23 May 2011

R32.

Hmm, it'll be interesting to see what spec Bentley develop this new 4.0T engine to.

It has already been confirmed that the new Audi S6/S7 gets a single turbo version at 402hp (408ps). The new Audi S8 gets a twin-turbo 511hp (518ps) version.

520... 530.. horsepower?. Surely too close to the W12 to make it redundant.

24 May 2011

[quote timmmmy]It's not the footballer image that would put me off but the fact that this car is hideous in every way! [/quote]The discussion on colour and trim hardly got underway when it touched upon how imperfect red is for modern cars, especially bright red on large limousines, when up popped this piece of automotive bombast, the designers so aesthetically challenged they trimmed the interior in red hoping it matched the livery. It doesn't. The obvious garishness of it, padded black cell and all, weighs heavily on the eye completely negating "lightweight seats."

What a mess.

24 May 2011

[quote Los Angeles]

[quote timmmmy]It's not the footballer image that would put me off but the fact that this car is hideous in every way! [/quote]The discussion on colour and trim hardly got underway when it touched upon how imperfect red is for modern cars, especially bright red on large limousines, when up popped this piece of automotive bombast, the designers so aesthetically challenged they trimmed the interior in red hoping it matched the livery. It doesn't. The obvious garishness of it, padded black cell and all, weighs heavily on the eye completely negating "lightweight seats."

What a mess.

[/quote]

"the designers so aesthetically challenged..."

And you know better than highly qualified and experienced car designers, because...?

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