The Bentley Continental GT W12 we drove is the new face of the car that took Bentley, as well as the grand tourer segment itself to new heights. This refreshed incarnation of the vehicle was launched at about the same time with an event that can be seen as a crowning of its predecessor - in 2011 the Continental GT reached a dazzling sales milestone, with the vehicle having managed to convince 50,000 customers in eight years.
The Crewe-based manufacturer had to keep the VW-borrowed platform of the grand tourer and came up with a special strategy for the rest of the vehicle. The W12 model would carry on with limited technical changes, keeping its traditional, more sophisticated line, while the plethora of technologies that accompanies such a launch would be placed inside a new, more dynamic V8 version.
The best part of the Bentley Continental GT W12 lies in its character. This four-wheeled creation respects its owner and brings out the respect in others. It manages to impress relying on traditional values, such as its design, its level of craftsmanship and the technical complexity of its powerplant.
Just as important, this Bentley perfectly serves the main purpose it was built for - to shorten distances. The car provides absolute comfort and it also partially resonates with the driver inside of you, which means that you’re not just cozy, but also entertained.
Another key asset of the Continental GT is its loyalty. You can always enjoy its finesse thanks to its overwhelming force, four-wheel drive and ground clearance. The list of dependable assets also includes a spare wheel
and a 90-liter (24-gallon) fuel tank.
The worst part of this Bentley is its beefy steel construction, which can push the vehicle towards the 2.5-ton (5,500 lbs) mark. First of all, the extra weight dilutes the dynamic driving experience that is a part of Bentley’s heritage. As for the fuel efficiency drawbacks brought by this, one may not be bothered by such aspects, but a driving range premium, for example, is never something that can be refused in a grand tourer.
While the aforementioned problem couldn’t have been solved without an investment the size of China, the following negative side of the Continental GT W12 that would’ve been easier to deal with. We’re referring to the six-speed automatic, which can show fine traces of lag on the open road and takes some points off the car’s rating inside the city. Both issues are no longer present with the eight-speed gearbox used on both the V8 model and the new W12 Continental GT Speed.
This brings us to the comparison between the standard W12 and the V8. Aside from the image boost brought by the powerplant and the slight superiority in terms of personalization, you can’t find too many arguments in favor of the twelve-cylinder vehicle - at least not when it comes to the standard model. The V8 on the other hand, offers more feel and can be seen as a fresher and more balanced proposal. Nevertheless, Bentley now has a strong presence on markets that couldn’t be more different from each other and the new structure of the range means that the Continental GT can appeal to a broader audience.
It’s time to move on to the ugly bit of the Bentley Continental GT W12, the financial one. We have to start by stating the obvious - There’s no such thing as acquiring a Bentley at its starting price. First of all you have the automaker’s own fine selection of options and we mustn’t overlook the Mulliner catalogue either. Nevertheless, one has to begin from a certain point and if you live in America, this is translated to $189,000 plus delivery and individual state taxes. In Europe, the Continental GT W12 starts at €154,600 plus VAT, so you’ll be starting off from at least €184,000 (19 percent VAT).
However, if you consider the collection of assets the Bentley Continental GT has to offer, as well as the brilliant ways in which these are combined, the price may start to seem reasonable.
There are many ways in which one can see the surrounding world and occupying any of the Continental GT’s front seats is a brilliant one.Continue reading