Bentley Continental GT

May 2007

picture of car from the front

Traditional Bentley grille is instantly recognisable

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 3Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 7Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 9Controls and display

Comfort Rating 9Comfort

Security Rating 9Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • W12 engine has character and is immensely powerful
  • Cabin is superbly designed and constructed
  • Excellent blend of comfort and handling
  • Performance is worthy of a regular supercar

Gripes

  • Exterior styling is a little controversial
  • Rear room is at a premium
  • Running costs likely to be very high
  • Rear pillars reduce visibility

As the first new model since Bentley became part of the VW Group, the Continental GT is a crucial model. It also represents the modern interpretation of what a Bentley should be, and despite its price tag it is most competitive in terms of price and sales volume with more mainstream cars.

The starting point for the GT is its shape. Rather than the traditional saloon models which have been the mainstay of the Bentley range for decades, the Continental GT comes in coupe form. It features a two-plus-two seating arrangement, although the emphasis is on the comfort of those in the front seats. The exterior styling is a mix of traditional cues and modern influences, and could certainly be regarded as a success.

Mechanically the Continental GT is also radically different to previous Bentleys thanks to its drivetrain and power source. Related to the VW Phaeton, the Continental GT has a four-wheel drive transmission to handle the high output engine, a W12 unit of 6.0-litres and twin turbocharged. As well as being the first application of four-wheel drive in a Bentley, the W12 engine configuration is also rare.

The combination of a compact coupe body, four-wheel drive and a high output engine makes the Continental GT a seriously fast car, and as such puts it in competition with performance luxury cars outside of the normal customer target. It is also more accessible to buyers, priced at the lower end of the GBP100,000 barrier and significantly less than other models in the range.

The GT is also the most versatile car to be produced by the firm in recent years, delivering a high level of comfort but also impressive performance. As well as the powerful engine, the GT has electronically adjustable suspension to cope with cruising or high performance driving.

Our verdict on the Bentley Continental GT

The Continental deserves its GT badge, as it combines looks, performance and luxury into one impressive package. It successfully combines roles as a large sports car and a comfortable cruiser, and the high level of quality, luxury and specification give it an impressive breadth of ability.

Costs
Costs rating 3

Running costs for the GT will inevitably be high, thanks to the thirst of the 6.0-litre engine, high insurance costs and the price of servicing. Its high carbon emissions will also put it in the highest bracket for excise duty.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 7

For a car of its size, the GT is relatively inefficient in its use of space. The cabin is cosy rather than spacious, although there is no shortage of room for front seat passengers. There are a handful of storage spaces in the cabin and the boot is usefully large.

picture of car from the rear

Simple shape is more attractive from some angles

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 9

The layout of the GT is highly impressive, with attractive yet clear displays, well labelled switches and controls and excellent graphics. The major controls are also well designed and easy to manipulate, adding to the relaxing nature of the driving experience.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 9

The level of comfort on offer in the GT is very impressive, from the supportive seats and the relaxed cabin to the low wind and engine noise levels. Passengers in the rear are less well catered for, although the use of individual seats does improve the amount of support.

Car security
Security Rating 9

A desirable car such as this needs protection, and the standard alarm and immobiliser system should prove sufficient to prevent most thieves.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

A high level of active and passive safety system are present in the GT, aided by the standard four-wheel drive system. Standard ESP and ABS systems are backed up by airbags throughout the cabin and a strong safety cell.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 8

The driving appeal of the GT comes from its ability to deal with any sort of driving. The refined powertrain, comfortable ride and low noise levels make it an excellent car for covering long distances, yet it is also a capable driver's car, responding well to inputs and delivering impressive performance with ease. It may not be as sharp to drive as some of its rivals, but it is certainly the best at offering both comfort and performance.

picture of car interior

High quality cabin is a joy to use

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 6

The GT is probably too exclusive and expensive to be a family car, although it would take a family of four without any trouble.

First car appeal
First car Rating 2

The GT is out of the range of first car buyers, and its performance and costs would be prohibitive.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 8

The quality of the GT is superb throughout, and is in keeping with standard that Bentley customers would expect. Especially inside, the GT feels hand made rather than mass produced, and has the right feel for a luxury car. The image of the GT is almost as strong, taking the peerless Bentley image and making it more accessible. It is this that has caused the only potential demerit, as the GT's popularity has made something of a common occurrence in certain circles.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

Access to the front of the GT is simple, with a long door on each side that opens wide. The low roofline does not present a problem either. Passengers getting into the rear face a more difficult task, as the front seats slide forward a limited amount.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

As standard the GT comes with a high specification audio system, with a six-CD autochanger and radio. The sound quality is very good indeed, and is well suited to a car likely to make long journeys.

picture of car in detail

W12 engine is powerful and flexible

Colours and trim

The exterior of the GT is available in a variety of shades ranging from the lurid to the conservative, but it is the more subtle hues that suit its shape. Inside the trim is of a very high standard, with quality materials in a wide choice of colours.

Parking

The GT is relatively straightforward to park for a car of its size, although the long tail and nose can make it difficult to judge the proximity of the car to other objects.

Spare wheel

Space saver spare wheel fitted beneath the boot floor.

 

Range information

One engine option: 6.0-litre turbocharged petrol (552bhp). Fitted with six-speed automatic transmission as standard driving all four wheels. No trim levels.

 

Alternative cars

Aston Martin Vanquish More performance oriented, impressive image

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti Four-seat supercar, looks a matter of taste

Maserati Quattroporte Saloon has the looks to compete, great to drive

Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG Technically incredible but falls behind on style



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May 2007