Each week we pick out and test a new model from the world of innovative, premium and performance brands. This time, we tested the new Bentley Continental GT First Edition 2019.
Bentley’s first grand tourer, the 3.0-Litre, took to the stage in 1921, almost 100 years ago. The car took first place at Le Mans in 1924 and again in 1927, proving its winning combination of sporting performance and long-distance durability.
The first car under the Continental badge, the R-Type Continental, arrived in 1952 and it was capable of 160 kph while carrying four passengers.
The modern Continental GT, was the first car designed from the ground up by a Bentley company under the patronage of the VW Group, where it remains today. And now we arrive at the third generation, a sleeker, more poised example of the grand tourer, available in coupe and convertible form, and with a W12 or V8 engine.
With a completely new 6.0 litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine, the new Continental GT is beautifully designed and exquisitely crafted.
The new Continental GT features very clean lines and a wide, low body, evoking a sense of speed and presence.
The new Continental GT displays a revolutionary triangular rotating display mounted into the dashboard. A little button marked simply “screen” turns the display to show either three classic analogue dials, a 21st-century touchscreen showing three different functions at once or simply a continuation of the fascia. The dash in the new world of Bentley design, can itself be split in half horizontally to show two surfaces. And while we’re at it, splitting the steering wheel into two contrasting colours for the leather is also an excellent idea.
The rest of the cabin is very classy – Bentley does a choice of leather patterns and stitching with some breathtaking color and wood essence combinations you’d never think of … There is no limit to the spectrum, other than taste. The names of the veneers themselves are like a book of automotive-design poetry that no other brand quite seems capable of matching: dark fiddle-back eucalyptus, crown-cut walnut, liquid amber, tamo ash, and so on…
Oh and the Naim sound system….excellent!
The W12 is strong, bold and defiant in its power delivery. You simply arrive from 0 to 100 kmh, very quickly – in 3.6 seconds actually, delivering a top speed of 333 kmh.
Created for effortless, exhilarating driving, the new Continental GT is built on an innovative chassis and electrical architecture, featuring a completely new 6.0 litre W12 engine and an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, for smooth, fast and efficient gear changes.
The flagship W12 engine really does lend a different character to this car: it feels more agile, more poised, silky yet ferocious power, which all ought to put it top of the list.
To enjoy a Bentley, one must understand Bentley philosophy – its glorious heritage, its extraordinary wins at Le Mans through the decades, its engineering prowess, its many owners and their place in the fabric of British society. And then you understand the joy of owning and driving one.