The coupé’s sledgehammer performance betters that of Bentley’s £160,000 Continental Supersports, the two-seater that marked the high point of the old Continental range, and will pitch it head to head with the new Aston Martin Vanquish, also revealed at Goodwood.
At the heart of the latest Speed is a significantly more powerful 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine, with peak output hiked to 616bhp with 590lb ft of torque — 61bhp and 37lb ft up on the old Speed.
As a result, top speed is lifted 3mph above its predecessor’s 202mph, and its 0-60mph time is cut to 4.0sec from 4.3sec.
In line with the higher performance, Bentley has stiffened the chassis and uprated some hardware in the air-sprung suspension. The result, according to Bentley, is a sportier and more engaging drive, with tauter handling and improved agility.
“The new GT Speed, with its harder-edged, sportier character, reaffirms the pinnacle positioning of the Continental and broadens its appeal,” says company boss Wolfgang Dürheimer.
Bentley maintains, however, that the Speed retains its refined, high-speed cross-country GT abilities.
The ride height is lowered and steering retuned to give better driver feedback. Grip is enhanced by 275/35R Pirelli PZero rubber mounted on standard 21-inch wheels.
New to the Speed is ZF’s more efficient eight-speed automatic gearbox. This is also fitted as standard on the new V8, but the lower-powered Continental GT W12 makes do — for the time being at least — with the old six-speed ZF unit.