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Future models - Bentley - Continental - GT3-R

Sharpened Bentley Continental GT3-R

Prestige pace: Bentley's twin-turbo V8 cruiser has gone on a diet and gained power to celebrate the English marque's racing success.

Exclusive Continental GT3-R is Bentley's fastest accelerating road-car to date

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Bentley logo18 Jun 2014

By DANIEL GARDNER

BENTLEY has announced it will build a hardcore stripped-out version of its elegant Continental coupe in what it says is “the most dynamic Bentley road car” in its near 100-year history, but just 300 GT3-Rs will be up for grabs.

The British car-maker's engineers have found another 37kW and 20Nm in the Continental GTS' 4.0-litre engine, taking the twin turbo V8 output up to a thumping 426kW and 700Nm of torque.

With that potency, the newest addition to the Continental stable has the same torque and more power than the current 6.0-litre W12-powered GT, but Bentley's motorsport division has also shed 100kg from the GT V8 S on which the GT3-R is based.

Weighing in at 2195kg, the GT3-R is still no featherweight, but with less bulk the big Bentley can accelerate from a standing start to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds and on to an estimated top speed of 273km/h.

Bentley's flagship Continental – the 460kW/800Nm GT Speed only manages the 100km/h dash in 4.2 seconds.

Despite its 4.8 meter length and plus two-tonne weight, the GT3-R is strictly a two-seater, with a simple bench replacing the rear seats as part of the Continental's weight-loss diet.

The significant power boost is a result of increased induction pressure from a new pair of turbos, a revised engine management system and a shouty exhaust system fashioned from titanium – a material known for its light-weight, high-temperature and corrosion resistance.

The glut of power finds its way to all four 21-inch forged alloy wheels via a shortened-ratio eight-speed automatic transmission, and a torque-vectoring system alters the distribution of torque between the rear wheels – a first for Bentley road cars.

Bright green eight-piston brake calipers pinch carbon silicon carbide discs at each corner of the GT3-R, and in one foot-stamp the exotic material rotors can absorb and dissipate up to 10 megajoules of energy – about the same as an average household uses in six hours.

Double wishbone suspension at the front and multilink at the rear is carried over from the Continental GT V8, as are variable dampers and air-springs with a little fettling for sharper handling.

While the new Continental variant is a sharpened track-focused GT, Bentley's synonymous luxury has not been compromised with the GT3-R.

All-new alcantara and leather seats provide spots for just two occupants and the lavish materials, green stitching, matching hide highlights and opulent diamond quilting continues throughout the cabin.

Vast expanses of high-gloss carbon-fibre feature extensively througout the GT3-R interior, from the dashboard, centre console and door handles to side sills, door cappings and even the parcel shelf.

The same carbon treatment continues on the exterior of the Bentley, with light-weight door-mirrors, front and rear spoilers, side-skirts and bonnet vents.

The slick GT3-R coupe bodywork is only available in Glacier White with two-tone green highlights picking out the Bentley's muscular lines.

The 300 limited edition Continentals are being produced to celebrate the model's success in the Blancpain Endurance series races and, while Bentley has yet to publish official pricing, orders are being taken from today with the first vehicles arriving later this year.

Bentley hasn't confirmed whether any of the hot Continentals will be coming Down Under, but if it does, prices are likely to be higher than the currently available $370,000 GT V8, and closer to the $408,870 GT W12 and $450,000 GT Speed.

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