It's the car that “defines the modern British luxury.”
The all-new third generation Bentley Continental GT continues a legacy of posh grand tourers with an incredible attention to detail, opulent interiors, and impressive performance. Given the Conti’s testament, it’s not a surprise the new model takes the evolutionary approach, rather than the revolutionary.
If you still don’t feel familiar with the design ideas behind the 2018 GT, Bentley’s Director of Design, Stefan Sielaff, is here to explain you “the traceable bloodline that has influenced” the vehicle. As he sketches in the Bentley Design studio, he says, and we totally agree, the car is “instantly recognizable as a Continental, while still clearly defining a new form language” for the British manufacturer in both “the surfacing and details.”
It’s not just a car. It’s an object that “defines the modern British luxury,” Sielaff says, with lines and forms inspired by aircraft fuselages. The headlights, on the other hand, borrow their design and detailing from the “perfect cut crystal glass.”
The same amazing level of detailing can be found in the interior, too – about 18 months have been spent by Bentley’s design team to develop the embroidery, individually optimize, and program the exact alignment of each one of the 712 stitches in the cabin. It takes nearly 100 hours for 1,000 craftspeople to complete the interior of each new Continental GT.
Revived in 2003, the DNA of the Continental can be traced through the past six decades to where the name began – the R-Type Continental of 1952. About 15 years ago, the British automaker brought it back to life launching the first modern Conti GT that defined a new segment – the luxury Grand Tourer.
But the 2018 Continental GT is also a mechanical masterpiece with its upgraded 6.0-liter W12 engine delivering impressive 626 horsepower (466 kilowatts) and 664 pound-feet (897 Newton-meters) of torque. That’s enough power for a 0-62 miles per hour (0-100 kilometers per hour) acceleration in only 3.7 seconds.
Gallery: 2018 Bentley Continental GT design explained
DESIGNING THE DEFINITIVE GRAND TOURER:
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE NEW CONTINENTAL GT
The all-new Continental GT is a statement of true luxury and innovative British design
Bentley’s Director of Design, Stefan Sielaff, introduces the Continental GT’s journey through a rich landscape of style inspiration
Styling cues include aeronautical forms, cut crystal glass and precise geometry
(Crewe, 04 September 2017) Bentley Motors is today releasing a film illustrating the inspirations behind the design of the all-new Continental GT.
Bentley’s Director of Design, Stefan Sielaff, explains the traceable bloodline that has influenced the new Continental GT as he sketches in the Bentley Design studio. Sielaff then introduces the journey that he and his award-winning design team in Crewe, England, have taken to create Bentley’s latest model.
Sculptured Aircraft Fuselage Forms
The Spartan Executive aircraft has a truly timeless design, using flowing curvature framed by sharp, powerful lines.
Bentley employed the same philosophy in the all-new Continental GT, using Superforming technology – a precision technique working with aluminium heated to 500°C – which allows designers to invoke more complex, sharply defined body lines and a deeper, sculpted haunch muscle. The Continental GT is the first production car ever to have an entire body side made from the Superforming process.
This sculptured approach ensures a style that is taught and athletic, yet still graceful.
Illumination Through Crystal Cut Glass
When a perfectly cut crystal glass is held up to the light, each facet is illuminated, highlighting a three-dimensional depth.
This attention to detail inspired the design of the headlamps for the new Continental GT, which catch the light like diamonds. The lighting uses the latest LED matrix technology, but it is the design that truly sets them apart.
The result is similar to that of an illuminated gemstone – an effect which is magnified when the optional welcome sequence gradually illuminates the headlights as you approach the car. The taillights also feature the cut-crystal effect, highlighting the three-dimensional quality of the optics.
Precise Geometry and Inherent Beauty
There is an inherent beauty in perfect geometry, something which is echoed throughout the details of the new Continental GT.
The Côtes de Genève finish found on mechanical timepieces inspired the creation of a new interior finish for the Continental GT. This surface – a first in the automotive world – is machined onto 0.6 mm-thick aluminium and is created by machining from side to side to create a linear pattern. Each row is 5 mm wide and machined at a slight angle to give a three-dimensional finish, with each pass of the machine making a minute step of 0.5 mm.
From the iconic matrix radiator grille to the signature knurling pattern, geometry delivers tactile refinement throughout the exterior and interior.
Innovative Technology Creating Theatre
A staple of all modern Bentleys is the seamless integration of technology with the finest, authentic materials.
Driven by innovation and the desire to offer the latest technology within a beautiful, high quality interior environment, Bentley has created a revolutionary, three-sided rotating display. At first glance there appears to be no screen in the centre of the dashboard of the new Continental GT. Instead, the veneer flows uninterrupted across the dashboard, while a thin chrome bezel behind the steering wheel surrounds a digital instrument display.
When the engine start button is pressed, the veneer in the middle of the dashboard glides silently forward and rotates to reveal Bentley’s largest-ever touchscreen, a 12.3” retina-quality digital MMI display. The third side on the Bentley Rotating Display reveals three elegant analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass and chronometer.
This perfect piece of theatre seamlessly enhances the customer experience within the cabin.
Unrivalled Expertise and Handcraftmanship
The authenticity of materials within the cabin of the new Continental GT creates an aesthetic and tactile experience.
Bentley has pushed the boundaries of what is possible with leather and wood – employing the renowned skills of the craftspeople at the headquarters in Crewe, England.
For example, a new ‘diamond in diamond’ quilt has been created. The effect is of a floating quilted surface in a sea of leather, which is extraordinarily soft to touch. The new interior pattern features both stitching and embroidery. Eighteen months were spent developing the embroidery, individually optimising and programming the exact alignment of each one of the 712 stitches that make up each diamond shape – an unrivalled attention to detail.
Almost 1,000 Bentley craftspeople will take around 100 hours to complete each and every Continental GT.
The Evolution of Bentley’s Famous Design DNA
The DNA that underpins the new Continental GT can be traced back through the past six decades, to where the name began – the R-Type Continental of 1952.
The spirit of the R-Type Continental was revived in 2003 when Bentley launched the first Continental GT. This was a car that defined a new segment – the luxury Grand Tourer. The three lines that expressed the R-Type – the power line, haunch and swooping roofline – also defined the Continental GT, creating a thoroughly modern shape that also references the past.