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Bentley ups the ante with new Continental GT Speed

The Continental GT Speed is the fastest and most capable Bentley to date

24 Mar 2021

BENTLEY has debuted its most “performance-focused” model yet in the form of the new Continental GT Speed; a more-than two-tonne luxury coupe capable of going from standstill to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds with a V-max of more than 330km/h.


Due to arrive in Australia in the first quarter of next year, the GT Speed is powered by an uprated version of the familiar twin-turbocharged W12 petrol engine, now developing 485kW/900Nm – 18kW more than the standard GT.


As with the standard car, drive is dispatched to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission however the Speed boasts a more aggressive mapping designed to help keep the engine revs in the middle of the power band.


Not only has the shift pattern been altered, but also the speed and ferocity of the shifts themselves have been dialled up, especially when in the Sport driving mode to match the increased performance as well as enhance the driving experience.


On the topic of performance, the GT Speed’s 0-100km/h time is 0.1s faster than the standard car’s (3.6s vs 3.7s) while the top speed has climbed 5km/h to 338km/h.


More than just a power upgrade, the GT Speed has been treated to a myriad of chassis and technology upgrades under the skin to help make it as dynamically capable as possible.


Leading the charge in the handling department is a new electronic four-wheel-steering system.


According to Bentley, the system combines with the standard adaptive suspension and new electronic limited-slip rear differential to elevate the GT Speed to “a level of agility unlike any other Bentley road car”.


Turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low and medium speeds, the system serves to effectively shorten the Conti’s wheelbase and make it more manoeuvrable before then turning the same way as the fronts at high speeds in the name of stability.


The standard traction and all-wheel-drive systems meanwhile have been recalibrated to help emphasise the Speed’s sportier nature than the standard GT, especially in Sport mode where the AWD system has been given a greater rear-bias.


The stability control system has been given a similar workover to allow an increased amount of slip before intervening.


Bentley’s ‘Dynamic Ride’ 48V active anti-roll control system also comes as standard.


To help haul the flying coupe up before it gets to the corners, a new carbon silicon carbide brake system has been made optionally available, clamped by monstrous 10-pot callipers up front and four-piston grabbers at the rear which not only increases braking power but also saves a claimed 33kg of unsprung weight.


Compared to the rest of the Continental GT range, the Speed brandishes a series of muscular and aggressive styling cues to help distinguish it from its lesser counterparts, including dark-tint grilles, sports sills, a dark tint radiator matrix, chrome ‘Speed’ front wing badging and unique 22-inch Speed alloy wheels.


The sportier theme is continued within the cabin too with an exclusive two-tone hide and Alcantara interior, Diamond in Diamond upholstery quilting, embroidered ‘Speed’ headrest and some more ‘Speed’ badging on the dash.


According to Bentley member of the board for engineering Matthias Rabe, the Continental GT Speed is the “very pinnacle of performance grand touring” as well as the most “exciting and dynamic” Bentley to date.


“The world’s most luxurious Grand Tourer is now truly more capable than ever before, with a new sportier edge which will appeal to performance-focused drivers,” he said.


“The Speed is the latest chapter in the Continental GT story, helping Bentley customers to create their own extraordinary journeys.”


The premium British marque has sold 18 new Continental GTs so far this year ending February, accounting for 10.3 per cent of the $200,000-plus sportscar segment.

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