£140,525 - £239,625 Price range
2 - 4 Seats
17 - 26 MPG
Under the VW empire, Bentleys have almost become ubiquitous.
Much of that is down to the Continental GT – its mix of power, looks, prestige and heritage has endeared it to the rich and dubiously famous.
The latest model is even better than the original and gets very good reviews.
A new Bentley sports car, called the Barnato, will be launched in the near future. Take a look at this compact Aston Martin DB11 and Porsche 911 Turbo rival in our Bentley Barnato price, specs and release date article.
Interiors are where luxury cars need to shine, and the Continental GT doesn’t disappoint. Materials are first rate, cabin space has been improved and it now does a better job of isolating outside noise from the cabin. Only a few ergonomic issues disappoint the critics.
Although the big wheels and tyres do generate some road noise over rougher surfaces, that’s the only time when your grand touring experience will be even slightly disturbed by noise from the outside world.
While some luxury marques that are owned by volume manufacturers can be criticised for including some relatively sub-standard materials and switchgear that can be seen in its less-expensive models, there’s nothing inside the GT to say anything other than ‘Bentley.’
At significantly over two tonnes the Conti GT is never likely to out-handle an Elise, but it’s still remarkably capable for such a large, heavy car. Ride quality is generally good and stability excellent, with huge reserves of grip in cornering. Steering feel improves with speed.
While sports cars often require drivers to push them to the limits to experience their true qualities, the GT is as great to drive at low speeds as it is when you push it to its not inconsiderable limits.
Few cars offer such performance at the same time as cosseting you and your passengers in as much opulent luxury as the Continental GT does. There’s rarely been a more comfortable way to enjoy such power and speed.
There are two engines to choose from, a 6.0-litre W12 and 4.0-litre V8. The six-litre, turbocharged W12 unit that’s always seen service in the GT does more than suffice.
Economy is unsurprisingly pretty horrific but it’s incredibly fast and refined. The only major criticism is the W12’s lack of aural drama, but then many will appreciate the silence.
The V8 is around 10% cheaper, less powerful and more efficient. Experts reckon it’s the engine to go for; it’s more fun to drive too because it adds less weight to the car’s front end.
The twin-turbo W12 was upgraded for 2014 to deliver more power than ever before. Despite the fact that the V8 has received plenty of plaudits from all directions, it seems Bentley wants to draw attention to how good the W12 is and to the fact that it has no intention of pensioning it off any time soon.
Bentley seem to have shot themselves in the foot with this V8 engine. The problem is that all the experts reckon that this is the engine to go for, not the more expensive W12 option. Pretty much every critic reckons this is better than the W12, with one even going as far as to say it's a 'no-brainer'!
The V8 is slower (by 0.2 seconds to 60) and slightly less poweful (down 75bhp), but critics still reckon it's more fun and involving. It's a lighter engine, so the handling is noticeably improved.
Other advantages are that it's cheaper to buy, by around £12k, and gets better fuel economy, 26.7 mpg vs 17.1. Due to reduced running costs, depreciation probably won't be quite so horrendous either.
Don't be put off by the fact that it's the 'lowlier engine', all the reviews say that this is the better engine.
The reviews of the new Bentley with the W12 engine are largely very positive. The consensus from experts is that this is a great engine that delivers monumental levels of power.
However, the biggest issue is the smaller V8 engine, that the critics reckon suits the car better. It is slower, but lighter so more fun to drive.
The downside to the W12 is the poor fuel economy, the official figure is 17.1 mpg, though if you use this engine properly you'll unlikely to even see double-digits.
If you want the ultimate Continental GT and just want to waft around at high speeds then it's still easy to recommend, but do consider the V8 too.
While size and weight doesn’t necessarily ensure your safety in the unlikely event of a serious accident, it does at least give a feeling of reassurance that many people like.
No Bentleys have yet to go through Euro NCAP testing, but you would have to imagine that it would score pretty well if it was to do so.
While all the usual safety features are here in the Continental GT such as plenty of airbags, traction control and ABS, it’s about time things such as blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning found their way into such an expensive car.
Value is subjective with cars like the Continental GT.
Is it cheap? Starting at around £125k, no. Nor will it be cheap to run, insure or fuel, though the V8 will cost a lot less than the big W12. Is it worth it for the image, performance and quality? Almost certainly.
Bentley Continental GT Speed
Buyers looking for the ultimate Continental GT can choose the Continental GT Speed model with a 633hp W12 engine. This immensely powerful grand tourer can sprint to 62mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds and reach 206mph. Contrasting exterior trim pieces and interior stitching, 21-inch black alloy wheels and a carbon fibre fascia are all options available on the ‘Black Edition’ model.
For those lucky enough to be in the market for a Continental GT, they shouldn’t be disappointed. It’s no sports car, but it’s still one of the best luxury GTs on sale.
Perhaps the only real issue that faces the Continental for some perspective owners is its image. While the car is undoubtedly excellent in almost every area, including styling, it has become something of a victim of its own success.
If you don’t like the idea of people thinking your car must be owned by a footballer, there are plenty of other ways you can spend £125k.