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Bentley Continental family updated for 2015

Published: 19 February 2015

► First sight of revised Continental range
► Bound for Geneva motor show 2015
► Gentle makeover, 5% cleaner

Put the Premiership on red alert – there are updated versions of the Bentley Continental family coming to the 2015 Geneva motor show. Not least for the W12 engine in the Continental GT, which gets a boost to 582bhp and becomes 5% more efficient, too.

Er, help me out here – what’s new about the way the 2015 Bentley Continental GT looks?

Got a magnifying glass ready? Only kidding. We strongly suspect the new cars will be a lot more obvious in the metal than they are at a glance – if anything, in exaggerating some of the Conti GT’s most obvious characteristics, Bentley could be in danger of turning it into a bit of a caricature.

Take the new front bumper – is that a whiff of moustache about those new lower grille dividers? The radiator ‘shell’ above is smaller, but the front wings are more pronounced; together with the new directional five-spoke 21-inch alloy wheel option, it looks sensational, if perhaps a little over the top.

At the back, there’s a change to the boot lid, giving the GT something akin to a modest Porsche ‘ducktail’.  The rear bumper is also wider, while the more performance-orientated V8 S and GT Speed feature a revised diffuser.

At the side there’s a new vent just behind the front wheels, complete with metallic B accenting. The shiny ‘power line’ that runs below this now continues into a full width brightwork strip across the rear.

Any changes on the inside of the new Bentley Continental GT?

There are more detail changes on the inside, with new ‘straight-fluting’ patterns on the seats, new dials and graphics for the instruments, LED illumination and a fresh black gearlever surround. The paddle-shifters – which always seemed strangely positioned and a little cheap – are now larger, with ‘knurled metal embellishers’. Nice. V8 models get a rear stowage space with charging point, suitable for storing iPads.

The Mulliner Driving Specification receives smaller diamond pattern quilting, while key options include a sports steering wheel and softer semi-aniline leather for the GT W12 and GT Speed. There’s an extended colour range inside and out, plus the option of colour-matched Alcantara headlining.

Goodness, how the other half lives. What about the W12 engine upgrade?

The regular twin-turbo W12 engine in the Continental GT now purrs to the tune of 582bhp, a 15bhp increase over the previous 567bhp version. Torque also increases from 516lb ft to 531lb ft. Bentley hasn’t quoted any performance figures, simply saying the upgrade should be enough to ‘maintain the model’s reputation for effortless performance.’

For the record, in the old car that meant 0-62mph in 4.5sec and 198mph for the Coupe, 0-62mph in 4.7sec and 195mph for the Convertible.

The extra power comes with increased efficiency, achieved by virtue of ‘variable displacement’ – which is to say the W12 now shuts down six cylinders when the other half dozen are adequate for adequate progress. Don’t get too planet happy, however, as we’re still talking 329g/km CO2 and just 20mpg...

What about changes to the 2015 Bentley Flying Spur?

The Flying Spur’s 616bhp W12 also gains the ability to deactivate its cylinders, reducing emissions from 343g/km to 333g/km. Hardly seems worth the effort.

Moving on to things Bentley buyers actually care about, the big four-door also sees changes to its instrument design, enjoys a sportier steering wheel and the knurled metal finisher for the (optional) paddle-shifters makes another appearance. Like the rest of the Continental range, there’s a wi-fi hotspot, new alloy wheel designs and additional paint colours.

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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