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Bentley Continental (2012): new gearbox, Speed specs

Published: 22 August 2012

Bentley is cutting the average CO2 output across its range, but don't worry; they're not cheating with a flying-B-badged VW Up (take note, Aston Martin-Toyota). Instead, Bentley's fitting a new gearbox to all new two-door Continental models.

Meanwhile, we've got all the details on the fastest Bentley road car ever: the new Continental GT Speed.

More efficient and faster Bentleys? How's that happened?

All Continental Bentleys will now come equipped with a close-ratio eight-speed automatic transmission, designed to keep the engine operating in its most efficient state. That means shuffling through the gears as quickly as possible and leaning on the massive torque from the turbocharged engine: the flagship GT Speed's W12 churns out a hefty 590lb ft. On its own, the new gearbox contributes 5% towards the Continental's overall 12% efficiency improvement.

That twist, along with a not-inconsiderable 616bhp, is transmitted to the road via all four wheels, which can be specified up to 21 inches in diameter.

The recently unveiled Conti V8 already comes with the eight-speeder, and the current Flying Spur won't get the new 'box because it's due for replacement soon.

And the result of this efficiency drive?

Here are the numbers: the Continental GT and GT Speed now feature a combined cycle fuel economy of 19.5mpg and estimated CO2 emissions of 338g/km. Meanwhile, the drop-top GTC returns up to 19mpg  and coughs out 347g/km.

That might look like a lot given that we're used to cars regularly dipping under 100g/km these days, but for a 12-pot monster it's not a bad showing. Consider that the old Conti struggled to better 16mpg and 410g/km and you'll realise just how much graft Bentley has invested in making the Continental behave more appropriately for our eco-conscious times.

More details on the Bentley Continental GT Speed

The GT Speed's 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 is fitted with Bentley's latest engine management system, capable of cogitating 180 million calculations per second, according to Bentley. That should make for better throttle response when you're in a hurry, and more relaxed crusing when calm progress is order of the day.

Torque is split 40:60 front to rear, and there's a sportier exhaust too, thanks to lessons from the free-breathing, low back pressure design first used on the Continental Supersports Ice Speed Record car.

The sprint to 60mph is dispatched in 4.0sec and the top speed is a Ferrari 458-embarrassing 205mph.

You'll need some serious brakes to rein in that power, and the GT Speed gets just that. The car is fitted with 405mm diameter front and 335mm rear ventilated, cast iron brake discs and eight-piston callipers.

If you've got the deepest of pockets, you'll want to spec the 420mm front/356mm rear cross-drilled carbon discs. Not only do they provide an inconsequential 20kg weight saving (this is still a 2320kg vehicle), but the fade-free ceramic discs last the lifetime of the car under normal driving conditions, while brake pad life is doubled.

For CAR's initial reveal of the Bentley Continental GT Speed, please click here.

 

 

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