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Bentley unveils Continental GT Speed

Speed demon: The Bentley Continental GT Speed will make its debut at Britain's Goodwood Festival of Speed in late June.

Goodwood-bound 329km/h GT Speed to be Bentley’s fastest mainstream Continental yet

Bentley logo20 Jun 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

BENTLEY has just announced its fastest mainstream model yet, the Continental GT Speed coupe, which packs the same 460kW of power and 800Nm of torque as the hardcore Supersports variants, which are based on the previous-generation car.

It will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain later this month, with Finnish former rally world champion Juha Kanukken, Le Mans racer Guy Smith and veteran racer Derek Bell behind the wheel of a pre-production model.

The brutal 6.0-litre, twin-turbo W12 engine sends power to all four wheels through a new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, resulting in 0-100km/h in just 4.2 seconds on the way to a Supersports-matching 329km/h top speed – although the Supersports is quicker to triple digits at 3.9 seconds.

Despite the tweaked engine of the GT Speed having a power and torque advantage of 37kW and 100Nm over the standard Continental, which tops out at 318km/h and reaches 100km/h four tenths later, the new transmission is claimed to aid a 12 per cent improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Compared with the previous-generation GT Speed, the new car has 11kW more power and 50Nm more torque, shaving three tenths off its 0-100km/h time and gaining 3km/h of top speed bragging rights.

GoAuto is awaiting confirmation on pricing and likely Australian arrival for the GT Speed but at $413,030 the old model was priced 7.4 per cent higher than the standard GT coupe before it was discontinued in June last year, so a similar premium for the new model would result in the price rising to around $436,000.

A lowered ride height points to the GT Speed’s up-rated suspension and steering, which the Crewe-based luxury car company says results in “sportier and more engaging Bentley driving experience with tauter handling and improved agility”.

Inside the cabin is an upgraded Mulliner “driving” specification complements sporty design cues that marking the car out as a product bearing the Speed moniker.

Identifying the GT Speed to passers by as a cut above the average Bentley is darkened chrome mesh on the radiator grille and lower air intakes, while around the back are huge tailpipes featuring a distinctive ‘rifled’ effect.

Completing the effect are unique of 21-inch alloy wheels, available in a choice of two finishes.

Bentley chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Durheimer said the success of Bentley’s Continental range has resulted in the company becoming the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder engines.

“The new GT Speed with its harder-edged, sportier character reaffirms this pinnacle positioning and continues to broaden the worldwide appeal of the Continental coupe.”

Australian Bentley sales are up 13.6 per cent so far this year, with 25 units sold.

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