No other car was more responsible for introducing the world to affordable uber-luxury than the Bentley Continental GT. Originally priced just north of $150,000, it was the next step up for folks buying fully loaded BMWs and Benzes in the six-figure range. Having Paris Hilton snapped by the paparazzi in one early in the 2000s didn’t hurt at building the GT’s notoriety.
While Hilton continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons, Bentley is reshaping its image into something more … classy.
At first glance, you might think nothing has changed, but the new design adds more definition to all the coupe’s lines. The hood now stands out more with a line that droops down to border the grille. The rear fenders are more pronounced, and around back, the trunk actually gets a noticeable crease. The taillights are also shorter and wider while maintaining the oval shapes within.
Yes, the GT stands out even more, something it needs since the current model’s been around since 2003. The interior gets a number of updates as well, none more important than what looks to be a thoroughly modern navigation system that uses Google Maps.
What about under the hood? Oh, just the same old W12 engine that now puts out 567 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque, up from 552 hp and 479 pounds-feet of the current model. For some reason, the W12 will not only run on regular unleaded fuel — which you’d be insane for putting in it — it is also flex-fuel capable for E85 ethanol. The automaker says it will hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds while mileage actually improves to 12/19 mpg city/highway up from 10/17 mpg. An eight-cylinder engine will be available late in 2011, and we’d guess it will come with a lower sticker price to match the fewer ponies under the hood.
The all-wheel-drive system has also been updated with a rear-bias of 60% while the front and rear track have also been widened for more grip. Twenty-inch wheels are standard, but if you need them, 21-inch wheels are optional from Bentley.