What is it?
It’s not just been given more power, though the output of the GT’s 6.0-litre W12 engine does rise from 552- to 600bhp; it also has a load more torque (553lb ft vs 478lb ft), a strengthened gearbox, firmer suspension, revised steering, optional (£10,000) carbon ceramic brakes and the chintzy Mulliner driving spec interior, a £6725 option on the standard car.
The normal Conti GT continues in production with some of the efficiency enhancement mods of the Speed, but none of the performance tweaks.
To get the extra power from the motor, Bentley didn’t just wind up the wick on the turbos, as this would have played havoc with the torque curve. Instead there are new pistons, conrods, better crankcase breathing and new engine management system, as well as a tiny rise in boost from 0.6bar to a still-very-light-pressure 0.7bar.
As a result the exceptionally high 9.0:1 compression ratio has been retained and, while peak torque now comes at higher revs, it develops more torque at all points in the rev range than the standard Conti GT, and delivers maximum urge from just 1750rpm.
What’s it like?
A little disappointing at first, to be honest. Drive it at the medium effort level at which the old GT was happiest and there doesn’t seem to be much gained from the extra £17,000 it costs over the standard car.
Sure, it packs a mighty whack and drops the 0-60mph time from 4.6- to 4.3sec while raising top speed from 198- to 202mph, but the standard car is hardly deficient in straight line terms.
In the corners it still feels heavy because it is. Bentley is rightly proud to have shaved 35kg off the car's kerbweight, but when the result is still a car weighing 2350kg, the champagne should perhaps remain on ice a little longer.
But just when you’re on the point on concluding that the car offers a little more of the same old thing, you up the work rate a bit and discover that there is, indeed, a new level of poise and response waiting to reward the enthusiast driver.