The Driver’s Seat: Henry Catchpole on the New Bentley Continental GT

by Hagerty
30 May 2024 2 min read
The Driver’s Seat: Henry Catchpole on the New Bentley Continental GT
(Images courtesy YouTube/Hagerty)

The new Bentley Continental GT is still under wraps for the moment, but Henry Catchpole has had the chance to drive one. The venerable W12 engine is now consigned to the history books, and in its place we have a shiny new hybrid powertrain producing 771bhp. That figure makes this the most powerful Bentley road car ever.

Creating all that power is a 591bhp 4-litre turbocharged V8 working in conjunction with a 188bhp electric motor. The former makes a surprisingly good sound, and the latter is capable of propelling the Continental GT in near silence for up to 50 miles. The torque figures are a respective 590lb ft and 332lb ft, giving a total system output of 737lb ft. All of which means the new car will do 0–62mph in just 3.3 seconds, which is 0.3 seconds quicker than the old W12 GT Speed. It still has a top speed of 208mph.

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Bentley Continental GT rear 3/4 driving

Of course, this new hybrid drivetrain adds weight – somewhere in the region of 200kg – but with the 29.5kWh battery in the boot, that weight is now perfectly balanced 50:50 across the car. Combined with new ZF dual-valve dampers, a 48-volt electric anti-roll system, torque vectoring, an e-diff, all-wheel drive, and four-wheel steering, the new Continental GT is not only powerful it is also surprisingly fun on a slippery track.

Bentley Continental GT convertible Henry Catchpole

Circuit ParcMotor Castellolí experienced all of the weather during our few hours there, but a rain-soaked track certainly let the Bentley’s chassis shine. It was playful and controllable and fun in a way you wouldn’t really expect a Continental GT to be. Turn the stability control off and it will slide with an easy abandon. Not something we imagine many owners will ever do, but as there was an empty circuit and someone else was footing the bill for the Pirellis, it seemed rude not to! And given that a Ferrari Roma or Aston Martin DB12 will always aim to be comfortable as well as sporty, why shouldn’t a Conti GT be a bit sporty as well as comfortable?

We’ll have to wait a few more weeks until the looks of the new Continental GT are unveiled, and we need to do some proper miles on the road to assess things, such as what effect those new dampers have had on the ride comfort. Will it actually achieve 50 miles on electric power alone? And will the lack of 12 cylinders be a turn-off in the eyes of the Bentley customer base? All questions still to be answered . . .

Bentley Continental GT trunk badge close up driving

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