By Cars.com EditorsJuly 29, 2015
About the video
As you might guess, the word "Speed" in the Bentley Continental GT Speed's name does indeed mean that it has more power – 49 horsepower more than the regular model. Under the hood is a 616-hp, turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine.
(engine starts) (soft rock) I'm Joe Wiesenfelder with cars.com. This is a 2014 Bentley Continental GT. But it's not just any GT, it's the GT Speed. Now, the speed name does indeed denote more power.
This one has 49 horsepower more than the regular Continental GT and 116 more than the GT V8 for a total of 616 horsepower from this six liter turbocharged W12 engine. Now, a lot of people ask me what is a W engine. People tend to know V engines, V6, V8, V12. Well, you can raise the hood here and it will reveal absolutely nothing. All you got is plastic covers and an intake manifold here, but I think I can explain it for you pretty easily. A V engine, you might know, has two banks of cylinders. Either at 60 or 90 degrees and they're moving kind of like this. So that's your V. Is a W three different heads? Three different banks of cylinders? No, it's not that complex. If you take a look at the engine itself, typically, let's say a V12 engine would have six cylinders on each side, all lined up. The only difference here with the W is that they are staggered a bit so they fit more tightly longitudinally. It just is a matter of packaging. So you've got two different sets. They're just staggered a little bit to make them fit in. Now, those 12 cylinders do not disappoint. They rocket this car to 60 miles per hour in just four seconds. There's almost 600 pounds feet of torque. None of it is wasted because there is standard all wheel drive. There's no wheel spin. It just takes off like a shot. Now, one of the changes that happened a couple of years ago in this model that I really appreciate is now there's a 60% rear bias to the all wheel drive system that gives it more of a rear wheel drive feel. You can accelerate into turns and it really balances the weight over the front and rear wheels very nicely. Now, mentioning weight though, that is one of my biggest complaints about this car and always has been. It is over 5,100 pounds. That is a lot. Now, you compare that with an Aston Martin DB9, it is 30% heavier than that car. Now, there's enough tire to keep it on the road and certainly enough power to accelerate quickly. But you still feel that weight all the time in the handling. Now, if you have 1500 bucks burning a hole in your bank account, you can turn the black brake calipers to red. These are the standard brakes and I think you could go with those. There's also a package that is almost $14,000 for carbon ceramic brakes that are better with resisting heat and they're lighter weight. But this is not a track car and you don't need them, especially because I drove a convertible version with those brakes and they developed a terrible, terrible screech that was so loud, I was finding dodgy trucks I could decelerate next to so everyone would think it was the truck and not me because when you're in a show off car like this, you don't want to embarrass yourself. Now, the speed version of the Continental GT starts at over $221,000. That includes a destination charge and a gas guzzler tax because it gets a combined 50 miles per gallon, city highway driving. Ours was also optioned up almost $9,000. This would not be an ultra luxury review if we didn't go through the list of frivolous options. Let's start with contrast stitching $1,905. That is some fine thread right there. Second, contrast stitching to the steering wheel. Another $200. If you want a heated, single tone, hide trimmed steering wheel that's just leather clad, that would be another $480. You see the hide trimmed gear change pedals here? That's another $710. One of my favorites. The carbon fiber facial panels, $1,635. So it sounds ridiculous, but you do get two of them. One of the unfortunate things that's emblematic of ultra luxury cars, if you want, for example, a backup camera, you will pay $1,215. Yeah, it's standard on a Honda Civic, but that's a Honda Civic. I have good news. The St. James red paint option on this car comes at no extra charge. And that's good because there are some paint schemes for the car that cost almost $27,000. And there's one that's almost $31,000. So I'll end this review as I do any review of an ultra luxury car by answering the question, what makes a car like this worth so much? The only good answer is someone willing to pay for it. And the Continental is Bentley's best-selling model. (trunk slams)