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Final countdown for Continental

Inside view: Aussie Continenental GT buyers have been able to inspect the interior of the car for the first time.

Bentley shows off its new star for local buyers

18 Jul 2003

BENTLEY is into the final countdown for the launch of the all-new Continental GT – both here and internationally.

The first examples of the W12 all-wheel drive roll out of the Crewe assembly line bound for homes in the UK in the first week of September.

In Australia the first cars will be flown in during late November, adding about $10,000-$12,000 to the already substantial $379,995 price.

As of last week, about 150 deposits had been taken in Australia for the GT, with delivery time now blowing out into 2005.

That has not stopped the VW-owned company pushing on with events in its Melbourne and Sydney dealerships as it works to snare even more custom.

Over the course of a week about 300 customers and plenty more prospects and walk-ins saw a near-production version of the GT complete with working interior. Last October a clay version of the GT without interior did a similar tour.

The strategy appears to be working, with five new depositors in the first evening in Melbourne.

Worldwide there are now 4000 confirmed orders for the GT, with 2000 of them in the UK.

Considering the first 12 months’ production is likely to max out at 3500, delivery time there is expected to stretch out to 18 months.

“We are actually in a situation where we are having to manage the demand and manage the supply against it,” said Bentley regional manager for Australasia Felix Welch.

“At the end of the day it is an exclusive car and we wouldn’t want to open it up to a volume scenario.” Customers are promised awesome performance with the 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12-engined all-wheel drive pumping out 411kW and 650Nm.

That massive level of grunt pushes the GT to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and on to a top speed in excess of 300km/h.

All-wheel drive is a first for a Bentley, as is the paddle-operated, six-speed sequential automatic gearbox.

The GT is styled in-house at Bentley’s design studios at Crewe with the intention of seating a family of four in comfort.

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