The third-generation of Bentley’s big-selling coupe has been unveiled overnight, with the 2018 Bentley Continental GT set to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Bentley claims that the new Continental GT ushers in technology not seen from the brand before, and makes the new model the brand’s technologically advanced model yet and the “world’s finest Grand Tourer ever created.” Particularly noticeable is the car’s new styling, which is much sleeker and more futuristic than any previous Continental GT.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said: “Bentley has been at the forefront of luxury Grand Touring for nearly one hundred years. The new, third-generation Continental GT is the pinnacle of our design and engineering achievements and marks the next step in Bentley’s journey.
“We are the world leader in luxury mobility and our products and services define new luxury in the automotive world. The new Continental GT encapsulates our desire to innovate as well as celebrate our heritage and take the Bentley ownership experience to the next, unparalleled level.”
Every single area of the new Continental GT has been targeted in upgrading the model – it now weighs 80kg less than before – though still over two tonnes – and the brand’s 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine has been upgraded. Now dubbed a TSI like all other Volkswagen Group turbo petrol engines, the W12 produces 32kW more power and 180Nm more torque than before at 466kW and 900Nm. This power is sent through a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic to all four wheels.
With these upgrades, the Continental GT will now launch to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds (0.8 quicker than before) and on to a top speed of 333km/h. The addition of the new gearbox and other fuel saving measures such as stop-start technology allows the Continental GT to use just 12.2L/100km – now exactly a Prius, but that’s a significant two litres less per 100km than the last model.
Bentley claims that the Continental GT’s driving dynamics have been completely revised, with a 48-volt electrical system from the Bentayga SUV allowing the brand to implement their new Dynamic Ride System. This system controls ride comfort and lateral roll, cushioning passengers from excessive movement as well as making the car feel “effortlessly precise”. The car’s engine has been mounted further back in the car, which improves the centre of gravity and allows for “an even more dynamic feel”, according to Bentley. The car’s brakes have been upgraded by 55mm to 420mm front discs.
The exterior of the new Continental GT appears sleeker than before, with much inspiration taking from the 2015 EXP-10 concept car. The nose is more raked than before, with an imposing grille and Matrix LED headlights. The side of the car appears more muscular and squarer than before, with a very athletic overall styling theme. The rear of the Continental GT is where the most changes have been made, with much more rounded tailights adding to the car’s sportier overall styling.
Inside the Continental GT, Bentley has increased the levels of available technology in a cabin that appears to be very high quality (as you’d expect from the brand). A new 12.3-inch infotainment system is standard fit, and now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring tech. The screen itself actually sits on a three-panel rotating display, with the other sides including three dials – one with the car’s temperature, one with a compass and one with a stopwatch – as well as one with nothing at all.
Bentley’s version of Volkswagen’s Active Info Display sits behind the steering wheel, and the cabin features a newer and much more modern layout than before, with a certain aircraft cockpit feel to the front section. A swooping panel of leather and two different trims reaches from the ends of the doors into the dashboard and continues with a leather-trimmed centre console.
Being a Bentley, there are many ways in which you can customise your Continental GT. Bentley’s Mulliner program allows you to choose the colour of any part of your car, as well as endless trim options for the interior. There are also optional extras, such as the City Driving specification, which includes low-speed AEB with pedestrian warnings, a hands-free bootlid, traffic sign recognition and a 360-degree parking camera system.
A Touring specification is aimed at those completing more long-distance journeys, and includes adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, active lane assist, night vision with an infrared camera and a heads-up display.
The Mulliner program also offers a cosmetic package, with unique 22-inch alloy wheels, leather quilting in a diamond pattern with embroidered Bentley emblems, a jewelled-finish fuel filler cap, sports pedals and a leather headliner.
The 2018 Bentley Continental GT will be on sale in Australia sometime in 2018, with the British brand yet to confirm local timing and specifications. Undoubtedly, Bentley will add more models to the Continental range, including a convertible and Flying Spur sedan, as well as the upgraded Speed models and possibly even a turbocharged V8 like the current model.
Stay tuned to Chasing Cars for news regarding the Bentley Continental GT and all other debuts at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.