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The car’s Drive and Sport modes are now said to be
more clearly defined from each other, with the Sport mode “designed for more spirited driving”. The operation of the column-mounted gearshift paddles has also been recalibrated. Bentley says the result is “the most dynamic, responsive and involving Bentley road car ever”.
The GT3-R rides on the
same basic suspension, but
the air springs and dampers have been further developed from the set-up used on the Continental GT V8 S.
The new car has 21-inch forged wheels. The braking system uses Bentley’s familiar carbon-silicon-carbide braking system, with 420mm discs and eight-piston calipers at the front and 365mm discs at the rear. Bentley says that such is the power of this braking system that it can absorb up to “10 megajoules” of energy in one stop, which would be “enough to power a family home for six hours”.
Rolf Frech, Bentley board member for engineering, said the firm wanted to push the Continental’s powertrain and chassis further than ever with a “torque vectoring system that neutralises understeer and a chassis tune that is both direct and forgiving”.
Frech said: “ We’ve differentiated the Drive and Sport modes to further give the driver a choice between a relaxed grand tourer and a sharp supercar with instant responses thanks to new turbochargers that eliminate turbo lag. Dynamically, the GT3-R is our finest hour yet.”
Dramatic changes have also been wrought both outside and inside the car. The GT3-R is now a strict two-seater, the rear seats replaced by a luggage bench. The front sports seats are a new design, with larger side bolsters, new foam cores and trim that features Beluga black leather and diamond-quilted Alcantara.
The same material combination appears on the steering wheel and shifter. Carbonfibre is used for the centre console, fascia panels and door casings. GT3-R badging is fitted to the centre console, passenger-side fascia and sill treadplates.
Read Autocar's first drive of the Continental GT V8 S
On the outside, the GT3-R is distinguished by a new front splitter and rear spoiler made from carbonfibre, and two new bonnet vents. All 300 cars will be finished in Glacier White paint and all the headlamp bezels, radiator shell, matrix grille and window surrounds are gloss black. The two-tone green graphics are described as tracing the “the power lines” on the side profile of the car.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley’s newly installed boss (who is now in his second spell at the head of the company) said the GT3-R “had to be the most luxurious track-inspired grand tourer ever… this car pushes our trademark combination of luxury and performance to a new level”.
The talk of performance-focused luxury by Bentley is a prelude to the new-generation models arriving over the next few years. Aside from the new SUV, which is the first new-generation model, the replacement for the Continental and Flying Spur models will be based on an all-new platform called MSB.
The MSB platform is, in effect, the next-generation version of the architecture that underpins the Porsche Panamera. The vital difference between this platform and what Bentley uses today is that it is natively rear-wheel drive. That is to say, the engine is longitudinally mounted and sits well back in the engine bay, sending power primarily to the rear wheels (although, obviously, all-wheel drive will be an option).