Bentley has pulled the wraps off the third generation of its Continental GT, a more powerful and tech-intensive version of the brand's grand touring coupe.
While it's an obvious evolution of previous iterations of this prestigious two-door, a new body inspired by the 10 Speed 6 concept car better wraps around the car's standard 21-inch wheels, rather than perching atop the chassis as the outgoing car appeared to do.
Bentley says the car is 80 kg lighter than before and claims the new Conti is the first ever production car to feature entire body sides created with what it calls the Super Formed aluminum treatment process, which it has previously used to create the complex curves of its fenders.
Under that body is a revised version of the VW-sourced twin-turbo W12 engine, now capable of cranking out 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Paired with eight gear ratios in the model's first-ever dual-clutch transmission, Bentley says the car will perform a 3.7-second sprint to 100 km/h. Bentley claims a 333-km/h top speed, achieved in sixth gear, the seventh and eighth ratios serving as overdrive gears for more relaxed high-speed cruising.
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The new engine gets advanced start-stop tech that can shut the engine down before the car stops, and a variable displacement system deactivates half the cylinders in low-load driving. Bentley says the Conti's new powertrain tech cuts combined fuel consumption to 12.2 L/100 km, from the outgoing W12 model's 14.2 L/100 km rating.
As before, that powertrain will be the basis of the flagship model, with Bentley expected to add V8 and hybrid models in the future, along with a convertible body style.
A new 48-volt electrical system allowed Bentley to build in a new Dynamic Ride System suspension the automaker claims better controls ride comfort and lateral roll.
Inside, the Conti GT boasts more than 10 square metres of wood trim that take nine hours to install by hand. That includes the piece that runs the width of the dashboard, which hides a trick bit of kit: atop the centre stack is a three-sided drum that rotates to reveal a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen or a trio of analog dials that display the outside temperature, compass and chronometer. Behind the steering wheel is a fully digital and driver-configurable gauge cluster.
There's also a standard 10-speaker, 650-watt stereo that can be swapped out in favour of either a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen unit backed up by a 1,500-watt amplifier or a 2,200-watt(!) Naim system with active bass transducers built into the front seats.
And, as usual, should any part of the Continental GT not suit your tastes, Bentley offers a wide range of bespoke paint and interior trim options for buyers with especially deep pockets.
The all-new Bentley Continental GT makes its global debut in September, at the Frankfurt auto show.Grand touring indeed 8/30/2017 3:13:49 PM 8/30/2017 3:13:49 PM