The Continental GT is a generously equipped car in standard trim, but there is potential to add options that add five-figure sums to the base price through Bentley's lengthy options list.

Truth is, however, that you could easily kit out your GT with must-have extras, such as the carbon brakes and convenience pack, and escape the showroom having spent less than you would on a mid-spec Ferrari California or Aston Martin Virage.

The W12 meets stricter Euro 5 emissions regs and can now run on E85 biofuel

A 65kg saving has been made over the previous generation of Continental thanks to lightweight seats, among other things. Aerodynamic drag and aerodynamic lift have also been reduced – a measure that’s of more importance on a car capable of almost 200mph than on anything with a 155mph electronic speed limiter.

This diet cannot make the Continental a cheap car to run, though its owners aren’t likely to be particularly bothered by this side of its character. When we tested the W12, we concluded that our sub-15mpg average economy return was poor, but balanced against the GT’s immaculate record for reliability, it could be considered a small price to pay.

The figure does rise to around 22mpg during an undemanding cruise – hardly frugal, but respectable enough for a blown 6.0-litre engine hauling around this much weight. We actually think it could improve on this were Bentley a little braver on its top gear ratio.

Bentley has already addressed many of this car’s unavoidable efficiency issues with the V8. That car’s state-of-the-art motor, equipped with cylinder deactivation, brings fuel economy and emissions gains of around 40 per cent.

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