Bentley Motors released details of the new Continental GT Speed – the most dynamic road car in Bentley’s 101 year history and ultimate performance-focused interpretation of the world’s benchmark luxury Grand Tourer. The pinnacle performance Continental GT features advanced chassis technology harnessed specifically for the new model. Designed, engineered, developed and handcrafted in Bentley’s carbon neutral luxury automotive factory, this new third-generation model builds on a long tradition of Speed variants. Originally introduced with the highly-acclaimed, first generation Continental GT Speed in 2007 – itself inspired by the 3-Litre Speed models of the 1920s. The latest GT Speed continues the bloodline by representing the ultimate combination of luxury and performance in a Grand Touring package. New Electronic All-Wheel Steering enhances the dynamic nature of the Speed in BENTLEY and COMFORT driving modes. However, this is even more apparent in SPORT mode, as the steering combines with Bentley Dynamic Ride and an electronic limited slip differential for a level of agility unlike any other Bentley road car.
Featuring Active All-Wheel drive, the traction control and torque distribution has been recalibrated in all driver modes to provide a noticeable character shift relative to the standard Continental GT. For the first time in a Bentley, the latest generation of the Continental GT Speed introduces the use of an electronic rear differential (eLSD).At low and medium speeds, the GT Speed’s rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction to the front wheels to aid a rapid change of direction, noticeably increasing the feeling of nimbleness. The steering feels sharper and with a quicker ratio, and a commensurate increase in steering feel provides even more driver confidence. At high speeds, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front, to improve stability. The system is significantly more active on the GT Speed than it is on the Flying Spur, where its primary purpose is a reduction in turning circle and enhanced high-speed stability. Maintaining Bentley’s philosophy of the vehicle feeling progressive and secure, yet still be dynamic, this approach rewards drivers of all abilities. To achieve this philosophy in BENTLEY and COMFORT mode, overall grip is balanced between the front and rear wheels, in SPORT this mode has been calibrated with a more rear-biased torque-split in all driving scenarios.
The cabin of the new Bentley Continental GT Speed showcases Bentley’s expertise in creating the world’s finest automotive interiors. Handcrafted materials blend with unique trim and badging that are only available in the Speed and can be further personalised if desired. The luxurious interior can be further personalised with a choice of 15 main and 11 secondary hide colours, as well as the use of leather in lieu of Alcantara for the Speed colour split. The centre console can be finished in new dark tint engine turned aluminium, bringing a geometrically perfect machined surface and a beautifully patterned finish.The Continental GT Speed’s credentials are further highlighted by a unique duotone colour split handcrafted in hide and matching Alcantara, which is also applied to the steering wheel. The exterior badging is matched with an elegant Speed icon on the passenger fascia. A range of veneers are available in GT Speed, starting with Piano Black veneer as standard.As with all Continental GTs, the Speed offers four seats and exceptional grand touring luggage capacity of 358 litres. Packed with exquisite detail, a technologically advanced instrument panel and the acclaimed Bentley Rotating Display, the new driver-focused model widens the Continental GT’s performance credentials.
The new Bentley Continental GT Speed is the ultimate performance-focused expression of Bentley’s definitive Grand Tourer, yet maintains the luxury, comfort and usability of its siblings. It is equipped with an uprated version of Bentley’s renowned 6.0-litre W12 TSI engine, delivering 659 PS (650 bhp) – a 4 per cent increase of 24 PS over the current W12 model – whilst maintaining an extraordinary 900 Nm (664 lb.ft) of torque. With exceptional handling, this results in a top speed of 208 mph (335 km/h) and 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds), a reduction of 0.1 second. The dual-clutch, eight-speed transmission shift is twice as fast in SPORT mode as in the standard W12 model, in keeping with the Speed’s ethos. This combines with a greater exhaust character during start-up and downshifts. Both engine and transmission have been deliberately calibrated to suit the car’s driver-focused credentials. This is most noticeable in SPORT mode, where the twin-turbocharged W12 has been tuned to keep the engine in the power band longer by up-shifting later, or downshifting earlier. This creates a more eager response to the driver’s throttle inputs. Bentley’s Variable Displacement system shuts down half of the engine’s 12 cylinders under certain conditions with the transitions between the two being imperceptible to the driver. Intake and exhaust valves, fuel injection and ignition are all shut down on defined cylinders, with the engine running as a six-cylinder for improved fuel efficiency.
Working alongside these systems are the key chassis technologies that deliver body control and ride comfort with no compromise to one another – namely Bentley’s three-chamber active air suspension with adaptive damping, and Bentley Dynamic Ride – the 48V active anti-roll control system that Bentley pioneered on the Bentayga and third-generation Continental GT. This innovative system features powerful electric motors within each anti-roll bar to resist body roll. In their firmest setting, the motors can deliver 1300 Nm in 0.3 secs to counteract cornering forces and keep the body level. Meanwhile, depending on the mode, the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) System allows the driver to experience an even greater level of freedom before the Speed’s safety systems intervene to correct any anomalies. With the ESC engaged, the car provides reassuring stability over uneven surfaces, abnormal cambers or in inclement weather conditions. When switched to Dynamic mode, the ESC extends the freedom of the driver, allowing the experienced pilot to set and alter the cornering stance of the car at their discretion. With the ESC switched off, the mechanical grip and inherent balance of the GT Speed comes to the fore, allowing a driver-focused experience previously only seen in Bentley’s racing machines. After utilising strong turn-in performance thanks to the All-Wheel Steering and eLSD, on track the driver can choose to balance throttle and steering to deliver effortless, progressive yaw angles.
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