For Crewe’s design and engineering teams, the new Continental GT coupe is an opportunity to set a bold and exciting direction for one of Bentley’s most revered names – the Continental. The seminal and highly successful Continental GT introduced in 2003 represented the first step in Bentley’s renaissance and defined a whole new market segment. It was a luxury GT offering excellent usability that remained true to the Bentley grand touring spirit. Now the new 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.
New 2011 Bentley Continental GT
- New, sculptured exterior exudes quality and design integrity.
- Contemporary, hand-crafted cabin with class-leading refinement.
- More powerful W12 engine at launch with FlexFuel capability.
- A new high-efficiency V8 from late 2011.
- Dynamic, engaging driving experience.
- Class-leading infotainment systems.
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 575PS (567bhp/423kW) 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 petrol (gasoline) and sustainable bioethanol (up to E85) or any mix of the two.
In late 2011 an all-new, high-output 8-cylinder engine will also be available to order. This advanced power unit will deliver a 40 percent reduction in emissions compared with the W12 engine and will offer a class-leading CO2 emissions-to-power ratio with Bentley levels of performance and refinement. Both engines are coupled to an all-wheel drive system with a sporty 40:60 rear-torque bias (compared with the 50:50 bias of the original Continental GT), minimising understeer during hard cornering and allowing the experienced driver to control the car’s line and balance via precise throttle control.
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 by 41mm 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 striking and unique ‘Cobra’ design seats are supremely comfortable thanks to the introduction of the latest body-supporting materials which use complex foams to provide softness at first touch but with excellent support over longer journeys. The seats can be specified with front-seat ventilation as well as a state-of-the-art massage system with 10 individual massage cells and individual side airbags are provided as standard for all passengers. Front seatbelts feature a new electrically-operated automatic presenter, making buckling-up effortless. Driver knee airbags are standard fitment.
The new Continental GT offers superb everyday usability. The new slim-line front seats with scalloped backs also provide a further 46mm of legroom for back-seat passengers and easy access to the rear cabin. No other Grand Tourer offers such impressive levels of refinement thanks to the advanced noise-suppression technology that includes acoustic glazing, under-floor shields and hidden anti-vibration panels throughout the interior.
The cabin is trimmed with soft-touch leathers, a full range of wood veneers, cool-touch metals and deep-pile carpets – all hand-crafted in Bentley’s unrivalled workshops at the factory in Crewe, England. The attention to detail even extends to applying a UV stabilizer to the wood veneers to protect from bleaching, thus ensuring they can be enjoyed as new for decades to come. Every leather hide is still sewn under the watchful eye of Bentley’s highly skilled craftsmen and women. By incorporating ingenious, angled ‘ramps’ behind the leather, the interior designers have created sharp, well-defined styling lines, while maintaining a soft-touch.
Other simple yet practical functions include a powered boot as standard, Electronic Park Brake with Move Off Assist and newly designed, leather-lined door stowage bins with an integrated bottle holder. Perhaps the most stylish new storage device in the new Continental GT is the exquisitely designed, folding, removable case designed to hold items such as keys and pens and which can also be slipped into a pocket or bag. Crafted from veneers to match those of the coupe’s interior, the case (available as a cost option) is finished with inlaid Bentley wings, satin-chromed and leather-lined, and is secured in a recess above the twin drinks holders in the centre console.
Throughout Bentley’s history, iconic grand tourers have forged the marque’s reputation. In the 1950s the beautiful R-Type Continental set new standards of performance and style. In 2003, Continental GT revolutionised the luxury coupe market, combining supercar performance and dynamism with remarkable everyday practicality. Now, the new Continental GT coupe sets even higher standards in every area of design, craftsmanship and engineering.