The time taken to sprint from 0-60mph has been cut from 4.2sec to 4.0sec. If you keep your right foot planted, 100mph comes up in 9.0sec, an achievement that’s unchanged from the current car, while the aforementioned top speed is nudged up by a whole one mile per hour from its previous 205mph maximum.
As before, the Speed chassis is set-up to be the most dynamically rewarding of the cars in the Continental family.
Compared with regular Continental GT models, the Speed has a 10mm reduction in the ride height, stiffer springs, rear anti-roll bar and suspension bushes and a 15 per cent increase in the front camber angle.
This new Continental GT Speed receives some minor cosmetic tweaks too. The front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser are now finished to match the exterior paint colour. There’s now a dark tint finish on the 21-inch alloys, headlamps and tail lamps, and new cars get red-painted brake callipers and chrome-effect ‘Speed’ badges on the front fenders.
Inside, there are some colour changes such as contrasting accents which are exclusive to the Speed models and some new ‘Speed’ badging to remind you once again than, yes, this is the fastest road-going Bentley.
What's it like?
No nation has ever mastered eccentricity as well as the British, and in this age of downsizing and hybridisation there’s something rather whimsical about installing a hugely powerful but wallet-crunchingly thirsty W12 engine into a motor vehicle.
Not that the type of buyer in the market for a £150,000 vehicle would give practicalities such as fuel costs much of consideration. The key question is whether this W12-powered Bentley is an anachronism in today’s motoring world or a decadent motoring delicacy to be savoured like fine art or wine.
The Continental GT Speed manages to combine prodigious power with pleasing docility and sublime comfort. With the automatic transmission left in standard ‘D’ mode, the engine produces a soft burr and excellent levels of sound insulation filter out road and wind noise.
It’s remarkably easy to drive, with the electrically assisted, speed variable steering feeling light and precise through town. On standard 21-inch wheel rims the ride is composed and the air suspension mops up most of Britain’s road scars.
It means that whether you’re behind the steering wheel or reclining in the leather seats in the rear, the Continental GT Speed has a wonderfully composed way of ensuring you arrive feeling just as relaxed as when you set off.
The big Bentley is air-sprung at all four corners and four suspension settings, ranging from the softest Comfort through to the stiffest Sport, can be selected from the menu on the infotainment screen. The differences between the softest and stiffest settings are noticeable, but the two incremental stages don’t really offer such significant differences to the extent that you’ll be forever ferreting around in the menu to select the optimum setting for any given piece of road.
Best to leave it in Comfort for cruising and occasionally switch to Sport for fun, although bumps and ridges are definitely more noticeable in the latter.
If the mood takes you, you can unleash the GT Speed’s aggressive side by pulling the gear lever into ‘S’ for Sport mode.