What is it?
Crewe’s fastest-ever production car, with a top speed of 206mph theoretically achievable if you have nerves of steel and a long, straight stretch of derestricted road at your disposal.
The centrepiece of this updated Bentley Continental GT Speed and its performance capabilities is a reworked version of the British-built twin-turbocharged W12 engine, which has received a power increase for this 2014 upgrade.
Although Bentley’s upstart V8 powerplant has been attracting plenty of the plaudits since it was introduced, the manufacturer is keen to show there’s plenty of potential left in the 12-cylinder.
In fact, this upgrade can be seen as a reiteration from Bentley that the engine isn’t going to be pensioned off any time soon, with the Crewe manufacturing facility having recently been declared the Volkswagen Group’s centre of excellence for the W12.
In this GT Speed (which is also available as a marginally less rapid drop-top) revisions to the engine management software and turbo pressure have bumped maximum power from 616bhp to 626bhp and increased available torque from 590lb ft to 607lb ft.
The power is fed through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission to all four wheels, with a 60:40 bias towards the rear axle.
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.