Bentley Continental GT

Read our full review of the 2012 Bentley Continental GT

The Continental GT 4-seat coupe builds on the success of its iconic predecessor, capturing that GT spirit but with even higher standards of design, engineering, luxury, craftsmanship, dynamic performance, everyday practicality and refinement.

A beautifully sculptured new body gives the GT coupe an even crisper, more defined appearance. The contemporary interior offers new levels of cabin design, comfort and hand-crafted luxury. The seats, for example, provide even greater support and rear leg-room; a sweeping dashboard even more style and modernity. The new touchscreen infotainment system features state-of-the-art navigation, Google Maps and entertainment while the latest Balanced Mode Radiator speaker technology and Dirac Dimensions™ digital sound processing deliver enhanced audio quality.

Bentley’s acclaimed 6-litre, 12-cylinder, twin-turbocharged powertrain now has a raised power output of 567 bhp and 700Nm (516lb ft) of torque and this is mated to a new Quickshift transmission which enables double downshifts. Thanks to advanced FlexFuel technology it can also run on both standard unleaded gasoline and sustainable bioethanol or any mix of the two.

Inspired by the iconic Bentleys of the past, Bentley’s design team under the leadership of Director of Design, Dirk van Braeckel, has created a thoroughly modern, sculptured body, built with advanced production technologies to ensure the highest standards of quality and body integrity.

Aluminium Super Forming technology is employed to create the front wings and the boot lid. This process heats the aluminium panels to nearly 500 degrees Celsius before shaping them by air pressure. By using a single sheet of aluminium, no seams or welding are required.

The latest body construction techniques deliver crisp, highly defined feature lines and form to every area of the exterior design. The familiar power lines and rear haunches – echoes of the original 1950s R-Type Continental – now have even sharper radii to create highly distinct surfaces, bringing the feel of a truly coachbuilt car to the new coupe.

The GT coupe’s new look is bolder than ever. The classic Bentley matrix radiator grille is more upright, while the new headlamp design, in traditional four-lamp format, has exquisite jewel-like detailing including eye-catching, LED daylight-running lamps.

At the rear, Bentley signature ‘floating’ LED lamps extend around the corners of the wings, emphasising the new coupe’s width and purposeful stance. The track is wider by41mm at the front and 48mm at the rear than the previous model. The bootlid design has a powerful ‘double horse-shoe’ motif, reminiscent of the new Bentley Mulsanne, while flared elliptical exhaust tailpipes reinforce the new GT’s sporting credentials.

The shape of the new GT coupe’s body is also more aerodynamic following extensive wind tunnel analysis. In conjunction with a range of extensive underbody refinements (including wheel arch and exhaust aerodynamic aids) the GT’s coefficient of drag has been reduced to 0.33Cd and the lift at the front and rear axles has also been reduced to create greater stability at higher speeds.

The new GT is specified with 20-inch alloy wheels as standard, with, for the first time on the Continental family, the option to upgrade to 21-inch designs. Three styles of wheel are offered – a 20-inch five-spoke version and two 21-inch Elegant and split-rim Sports variations, which come in a variety of chromed and painted finishes.

With an entirely hand-crafted interior, the Continental GT’s cabin sets new standards in refinement and luxury to create a stylish space in which up to four people can relax in total comfort.

The instrument panel and dashboard subtly echo the flying wings of the Bentley motif and are fashioned from the highest quality soft-touch leathers. New touchscreen technology and chrome-bezelled dials are housed within this dynamic cockpit area, which rises from the centre console in the form of dramatically surfaced ’wing’ buttresses.

The Continental GT’s new infotainment system also provides the ultimate in in-car audio entertainment. An eight-speaker sound system is offered as standard employing the latest Balanced Mode Radiator technology. These unique compact, flat-panel speakers provide exceptional clarity with a very wide frequency range.

the new Continental GT coupe is powered by the latest evolution of Bentley’s acclaimed 12-cylinder, 6-litre twin-turbocharged engine, now calibrated to provide even greater performance, thanks to increases in power, torque and fuel efficiency.

Further revisions to the new GT coupe’s engine include low friction, lightweight components which allow the W12-format engine to rev even more freely, while the latest engine management system and twin, low-inertia turbochargers are optimised to ensure minimal turbo lag.

Overall, the GT coupe is 65kg lighter than its predecessor thanks to reductions in all areas of the car from engine components through to new seats. With its power output raised by 15PS and torque by 50 Nm - to 567 bhp and 700Nm (516lb ft) – the result is a 6 percent improvement in the new GT’s power-to weight-ratio, making it capable of accelerating from zero to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds) with a top speed of 198mph (318km/h).

The increased power and torque are transmitted to the all-wheel drive system via an uprated six-speed Quickshift transmission, which halves shift times (to just 200 milliseconds). The revised gearbox also has the ability to deliver double downshifts (sixth to fourth gear, for example) and improves acceleration across the entire gear range. To cope with the additional power and torque, the planetary gear set of the six-speed ZF transmission is also strengthened.

Positive torque during downshifts is achieved through engine and gearbox electronic controller interaction for extra throttle and fuel injection during the overrun, replicating manual throttle ‘blips’ for precise rev matching . During transmission upshifts, fuel and ignition are cut momentarily to give faster mechanical shift times through torque reduction, also improving shift quality and durability.

Source: Bentley press

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