Bentley’s lat­est 6-litre W12 Continental GT cod­dles and trav­els even better than its pre­de­ces­sor.

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

IIN 2003, Bentley rolled out the first-gen­er­a­tion Continental GT, un­der the stew­ard­ship of VW-Audi rather than Roll­sRoyce. This was the first Bentley made that had noth­ing to do with the old part­ner­ship with Rolls-Royce. In­stead, the 2003 Bentley Continental GT was cre­ated from the plat­form of the Volk­swa­gen Phaeton. Bentley made huge im­prove­ments to cre­ate the Continental range of cars, which in­clude the Continental GT Con­vert­ible and Continental Fly­ing Spur.

The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Continental GT, in­tro­duced in 2011, was a heav­ily re­vised edi­tion of the first-gen­er­a­tion Continental GT. The changes were so sub­tle that it was not easy to dis­cern new from old at a glance.

How­ever, in 2018, af­ter soldiering on with the old plat­form for some 14 years, Bentley ditched it for one shared with Porsche – to be pre­cise, the Panam­era plat­form which car­ries the internal co­de­name MSB.

The Continental GT is the premier lux­ury coupe that has ruled that niche, with some 70,000 ex­am­ples sold dur­ing that pe­riod. There are very few grand tourer coupes that seat four in com­fort, have a 12-cylin­der engine and of­fer su­per­car­rivalling per­for­mance ca­pa­bil­i­ties. That for­mula has not changed for the 2018 Continental GT. It may share a plat­form with Porsche, but to­day’s plat­form-shar­ing is very so­phis­ti­cated and can cre­ate com­pletely unique mod­els.

It is clear that the Bentley stylists have en­deav­oured to cre­ate a no­tice­ably dif­fer­ent Continental GT, yet main­tain a strong fa­mil­ial re­sem­blance.

It ap­pears more svelte, mainly be­cause it is 44mm longer and 10mm wider, al­though the height is al­most iden­ti­cal.

The re­design ac­tu­ally pushes the front axle 135mm fur­ther for­ward, such that the front over­hang is re­duced sig­nif­i­cantly, giv­ing the car the ap­pear­ance of a longer nose and rear­ward cab. That for­ward ex­ten­sion of the front axle is more than the 105mm in­crease in the car’s wheel­base.

The styling changes are most ev­i­dent at the front and the rear. Large chrome-mesh aper­tures dom­i­nate the fas­cia, fin­ish­ing al­most flush with the outer sur­face in­stead of be­ing smaller and re­cessed like on the old GT. The LED head­lamps are also flush with the sur­face, but they have a unique cut-crys­tal ap­pear­ance due to the re­flec­tor on the inside.

The block-like tail-lamps have been re­placed by a pair of ovoid lamps that help re­duce the bulk and give the coupe a com­pletely new look from the back.

From the side, it is recog­nis­ably sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous Conti GT, as the sig­na­ture lines are all there, al­beit a bit more sharply

de­lin­eated thanks to the spe­cial su­per-form­ing process of the alu­minium body panels. Over­all, the new­comer seems a bit more cur­va­ceous than be­fore. Even big­ger changes await on the inside. The new wrap­around de­sign re­places the old bi­wing de­sign and re­ally makes the cabin feel mod­ern.

Tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als have been used all round, with the ex­cep­tion of a Cotes de Gen­eve-in­spired alu­minium panel that cov­ers the cen­tre con­sole around the gear­lever. Oth­er­wise, there are the usual wood ve­neers (over 10 square me­tres in to­tal) and leather up­hol­ster­ies in abun­dance. Moder­nity comes in the form of a three-sided ro­tat­ing panel at the cen­tre of the dash­board.

Said panel has an up-to- the-minute 12.3-inch LCD touch­screen in­for­ma­tion display on one face, and a set of clas­sic ana­logue gauges to display am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture, com­pass di­rec­tion and a stop­watch on an­other face. A match­ing wood panel is the third face that ro­tates into place as the car is shut down.

The leather on some sur­faces dis­plays a “di­a­mond in di­a­mond” quilt­ing tech­nique, with a sin­gle di­a­mond em­broi­dery re­quir­ing 712 stitches. It looks im­mac­u­late in the new cabin.

Of course, per­sonal cus­tomis­ing is a pos­si­bil­ity, with an al­most in­fi­nite num­ber of com­bi­na­tions of leather hues, ve­neers and stitch­ing to cre­ate a one-of-a-kind Bentley.

If the stan­dard 650-watt 10-speaker au­dio sys­tem does not meet your ex­pec­ta­tions,


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