Grand Touring Reincarnated
It’s finally been revealed online and as you can imagine, the buzz is down to the fact that Bentley Motors just dropped the veils off the latest generation of its best-selling sportscar- the Continental GT.
For the automotive buffs world-over, the figures provide the pandemonium; a twin-turbo W12 engine with 626 British horses stowed away offering a maximum torque of 897 Nm. This no-joke upgrade to the Continental’s heart means it smashes the century dash in 3.7 seconds, galloping its way up to a top speed of 333 km/h while being facilitated by an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, a first for the model series.
The higher-ups from Crewe are enthusiastically calling it the very “pinnacle of British engineering and design achievements”, with the brand’s CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer commenting on the momentous occasion, “We are the world leader in luxury mobility and our products and services define new luxury in the automotive world.” Whether one agrees to that is one thing, but the news has been highly-anticipated by fans and critiques of the British marque.
The growing digitisation of our time has resulted in the new Conti taking on some extraordinary features that have not quite been in the Big B’s nomenclature, especially where the interior is concerned. A pivoting 12.3-inch touch screen on the dashboard, flips its way to showing a set of three traditional analog dials to somewhat communicate the steep blend of technology and vintage Bentley traits.
Besides housing the smartphone-friendly tidbits, the 2018 Conti GT also features the luxury-automotive custom of variable displacement, an engineering product to have cylinders shutdown to aid fuel consumption. This means the new Continental GT comes with bettered fuel-economy: 23.2 mpg compared to the older 19.9 mpg of the outgoing model. The supercar also has electronically controlled valves that belt out different notes depending on driving conditions of course.
To take on the roads, Bentley Motors have included a newly developed active four-wheel drive system. This replaces the traditional 60-40 rear-to-front split of the outgoing Conti and promises to offer a refreshed road-going presence for the stylish grand tourer. In tandem with this, the marque’s engineers have also decided to fit in an electrical steering system complete with variable rack ratio to increase drive comfort and to filter out road imperfections as such, something that will make all the difference on our poorly maintained roads.
While it has always been the custom by Bentley to place a sporty emphasis with the Continental GT model series, the new tweaks and improvements point towards being a strict grand tourer in its purest sense. This can be seen in the inclusion of a new air suspension setup that according to the luxury car maker, is to bring about a more noticeable difference between driving modes and conditions. These are of course coupled with the customary electronically adjustable dampers that work coherently with axels made out of pure aluminium.
Due to the sheer weight and power from the W12 engine, the new Conti features massive discs up front, gaining a whole 15-milimetres more than the older model, to a total diameter measurement of 420-milimetres. These are tucked away on a standard set of 21-inch wheels, with 22-inch wheels available on option should one seek out a more prominent and imposing look on their new Bentley Continental GT.
Like all Bentley’s that come forth out of Britain, the new Continental GT’s customization options are as limitless as they come by the marque’s standards however, by default, each new Conti comes with a choice from 17 exterior color tones, with 70 different hues also available for choosing. This can be complemented in the interior with a choice of 15 carpets, 8 for the regally handcrafted veneers (4 dual-veneer options and as always, the hide leather selections are also bountiful, with 15 options available as well.
While spokes people from Bentley Motors have indicated that the new Conti has gone through some heavy tests prior to the finished product we see here, it also comes with two functional tech suits to cater for the intended need of the sportscar: City Specification for the urban jogg and Touring Specification for the long-haul marathons. The first of the two comes with hands-free boot operation, pedestrian sensors, traffic sign recognition, city-braking system and a 360 camera, all to aid the daily grind. The Touring Specification pack on the other hand comes expectedly with adaptive cruise control (with traffic jam assist), active lane assist, heads-up display, night vision with infrared camera and pre-sense braking.
Supercars seem to be a normality these days but when Bentley Motor flexes its muscle, everyone takes notice of course. It is also quite clear that through this new Continental GT, Bentley Motors is looking well into the future to expand its brand’s appeal and reach to a newer generation of wealth as well. So, if you’re going to be in Frankfurt for the IAA spectacle this September, the Bentley exhibition area is where you’d want to park yourself surely.
Images/Videos: Bentley Motors