New Bentley Continental GT Speed is built for bends

by Nik Berg
24 March 2021 2 min read
New Bentley Continental GT Speed is built for bends
Photos: Bentley

The most rapid of Bentleys have always lived up to their names when it comes to straight-line performance, but the latest Continental GT Speed – the four-seat super tourer – has been crafted for corners as well.

Key to the big Brit’s newfound agility is a raft of upgrades to its steering, all-wheel-drive system, and stability control technology.

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Firstly, the Continental GT Speed has all-wheel steering for the first time. At lower speeds the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the fronts, provide more rapid direction changes and a tighter turning circle. The steering ratio is also faster than before as Bentley attempts to give the driver an even greater sense of involvement. At high speeds the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the fronts, which Bentley says improves lane-change stability.

The all-wheel drive system’s traction control and torque distribution has been recalibrated. In normal driving the torque split is 50:50 front to rear, but switch to Sport mode and more grunt is sent to the rear wheels where a new electronic limited-slip differential is fitted. Bentley claims that the new diff gives better traction in slippery conditions, but keen drivers will be glad to hear that it provides more on-throttle adjustability as well. Further tuning of the Electronic Stability Control in its dynamic mode allows “the experienced pilot to set and alter the cornering stance of the car at their discretion.” Maybe that’s what scientists mean by the term “Continental drift”.

Aiding the ability to spin up the rear wheels is an enhanced version of the six-litre W12 engine. Now packing 650bhp and 664lb ft of twist, the Continental GT Speed is appropriately speedy. Zero to 60 mph takes 3.5 seconds and top speed is 208mph. The dual-clutch eight-speed transmission has been fettled for faster shifts. In Sport mode it changes gear twice as fast as a standard Continental GT.

The GT stops as well as it goes, with powerful new Carbon Silicon Carbide discs and ten-piston callipers. The new brakes are 33kg lighter overall and produce less dust than conventional versions.

Visual updates to the GT Speed are quite subtle, with the most most noticeable being new 22-inch wheels. The radiator and lower bumper grille are black, the car wears deeper sills and Speed badging. Open the door and you’ll see illuminated Bentley kickplates as you step into the two-tone cabin. Acres of leather and Alcantara adorn every soft surface, while turned aluminium with a dark tint is applied to the centre console. Piano black wood veneer is standard with a choice of six further woods to trim the dashboard. Buyers can pick from 15 main and 11 secondary leather colours as well.

The Continental GT Speed is expected to cost more than £180,000 when it goes on sale in the summer, with the order books open now.

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