Introduced first in concept form, the Continental GT coupe debuted as a production model at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show. Sales in Europe began later that year, and the U.S. version started reaching dealerships during 2004.
According to Bentley, the Continental GT was "conceived to be a sporting coupe without rival." Striking in design, it's a full four-seater with four-wheel drive. Breathing with the assistance of twin turbochargers, its compact 552-horsepower W-12 engine drives a paddle-operated six-speed sequential automatic gearbox that promises supercar performance. Bentley claims the Continental GT can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
For 2005, a Mulliner Driving Specification edition of the Continental GT joins the lineup, promising "further sporting feel." Advan Sport P275/35R20 tires ride on two-piece seven-spoke alloy wheels. Drilled alloy sport pedals and a knurled chrome and leather gear lever are installed.
New options for 2005 include a two-tone hide-trimmed steering wheel, cross-stitching on the seats and door panels, and Vavona and Olive Ash wood veneers. Voice activation for the in-car phone is standard; it works in six languages. Magnolia is a new interior color choice. Carpets and seat belts can now be matched to the main or secondary interior color.
Bentley is now owned by Volkswagen and has ended its decades-long affiliation with Rolls-Royce. Bentley emphasizes the GT's racing skills, performance potential and posh attributes. A four-door Continental GT Flying Spur will join the Continental GT coupe during 2005.
Continental GT appearance is far removed from the subtly sporty designs of Bentley's recent seasons, which were comparatively sedate. Designers sought to blend traditional Bentley hallmarks and hand craftsmanship with a contemporary profile and advanced technology. Featuring pillarless hardtop styling, the Continental GT coupe has a minimal front overhang and pronounced haunches over the wheels.
Flanking large inner headlights, the simple yet assertive mesh-type grille resembles that of no other modern Bentley. A flush-mounted rear spoiler rises automatically at high speeds. Air springs contain electronic dampers. The car's body is made in Germany, but it is assembled in Crewe, England.
Four people can enjoy the Continental GT coupe. According to Bentley, 6-foot-tall occupants fit easily in the front and rear seats. Interior designers worked with New York basketball players to ensure that people of all sizes and shapes could be accommodated. Leather upholstery comes in a choice of colors. Various types of wood interior trim can be specified.
A symmetrical fascia mates with a center control that rises up and curves to the sides in a shape resembling the design of the Bentley wing insignia. Most routine controls can be operated from the steering wheel.
Under the Hood
Operating with twin turbochargers, the Bentley-designed four-overhead-cam 6.0-liter W-12 generates 552 hp at 6,100 rpm and 479 pounds-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm. The six-speed ZF automatic transmission has a manual-shift provision. All-wheel drive is standard.
Ventilated disc brakes have Bosch antilock technology with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. Side-impact and side curtain-type airbags are installed. All four seats have seat belt pretensioners.