► New S specification added to Continental range
► Brings sports exhaust and black trim accents
► Prices start from £198,600 for the coupe
Bentley has introduced a new S specification for the Continental GT and GTC ranges. The trim-level adds a few black cosmetic tweaks, a new colour scheme for the interior upholstery and a noisy sports exhaust system. It’s on sale in the UK now.
Prices for the new Bentley Continental GT S start from £198,600 for the coupe (or £218,300 for the convertible). That means it neatly splits the difference between the entry-level model’s £176,400 starting price and the £219,400 figure of the performance-focused GT Speed.
Be a bit more specific. What do you get for your money?
Exterior changes start with a set of enormous 22-inch alloy wheels, which are unique to the S specification. The brake callipers are painted red, the headlights and tail lights get smoked lenses and all of the exterior brightwork is swapped for gloss black replacements.
The standard Continental GT’s exhaust has been swapped for a more raucous sports exhaust, too. There are four exhaust tips poking out of the rear bumper, finished in black to match the rest of the car’s exterior trim. And, if those massive wheels are a bit too strong for your taste, Bentley offers a slightly smaller set of 21-inch alloys.
Inside, Bentley has trimmed the steering wheel, gear lever, seat cushion and seat backrest in Dinamica faux-suede. The company says the material provides better grip (on both the driver’s hands and backside) when cornering hard. The seat bolsters, door pads, instrument panel and centre console are trimmed in leather.
Bentley has also introduced a new stitching pattern for the S specification, with fluted upholstery and an embroidered “S” badge on the headrest of each seat. If you spend a bit more money, you can have quilted upholstery instead. The cabin tweaks are rounded off with a new badge for the dash and fresh backlit tread plates, both bearing the “S” logo.
That all sounds very opulent. But what’s powering this tank?
The Bentley Continental GT S is only available with the brand’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine, which produces 542bhp and 568lb/ft of torque. That’s enough to shove this big British barge from 0–62mph in four second flat. Top speed stands at 198mph.
If you opt for one of the Conti’s other specifications, you can have it with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12, which chucks out 626bhp and 664lb/ft of torque. The extra grunt slashes the coupe’s 0–62mph time down to 3.6 seconds and increases its top speed to 207mph.
Part of the reason why the Continental GT is so quick (especially considering its heft – both the V8 and W12 models weigh more than 2.7 tonnes) is its drivetrain. Both engines send their power through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox to all four wheels.
Bentley also says the Continental GT will quite happily carve up corners, thanks to its active anti-roll technology. It uses a 48V electric system and a series of motors to load up the outside wheels when rounding a bend, effectively making the car lean into corners like a superbike rider. This way, the car stays flat and gets the best out of the tyres.
What if I want an even faster Continental GT?
You’d be mad for thinking 626bhp isn’t enough power – but Bentley has you covered. Spend even more money (we’re talking the sort of cash that would buy you a sizable estate in the Lake District) and you can have the Continental GT Speed, which gets a more potent version of Bentley’s 6.0-litre W12 and a host of chassis modifications.
The Speed’s engine develops the same amount of torque as the standard W12, but it produces more power. There’s now 650bhp on tap, which trims the car’s 0–62mph time down to a supercar-baiting 3.6 seconds and bumps the top speed up to 208mph.
To help transmit all of that performance to the road, Bentley fitted the Speed with some clever chassis technology. Stand-out features include an electronically controlled limited-slip differential on the rear axle and a rear-wheel steering system. The adaptive dampers and active anti-roll system remains, while carbon brakes can be specified as an optional extra.
Bentley also designed a dedicated electronic stability control system for the Speed, which it calls “charisma-dependent ESC.” Basically, it can read what the driver’s doing and react accordingly. So, if you chuck the car into a corner at Mach 10 with every intention of hanging the back end out, the system will support you rather than spoil your fun.
What’s the interior like?
Comfortable and well equipped. But it should be for this money. On the technology front, you get a digital gauge cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment system as standard. However, you can upgrade the latter unit with Bentley’s Rotating Display option.
This is a three-sized panel that revolves inside the dashboard. One face features the touchscreen, one has traditional gauges and one bears a blank sheet of veneer to match the dashboard. Other options include a thundering 2200W Naim audio system, a digital TV tuner and a panoramic sunroof.
All of the interior trim – the leather colour, the leather style, the stitching, the dashboard finish, the lot – can be tailored to your exacting specifications. Bentley gives you a choice of 14 off-the-peg leather colours which can be organised into six different colour splits. But, if nothing takes your fancy, the firm will happily make you something bespoke.