It’s a Bentley Continental GT… but not as we know it. It wears the badge, it’s got the doe-eyed headlights and a W12… but that’s about it. This is Conti V2.0 and it is pretty much all-new.
Based on the same platform as the Panamera (Porsche’s ‘MSB’), new Continental gets a mixed-materials skeleton (mainly aluminium and steel) clothed in big sheets of more aluminium. In fact, it’s all aluminium, apart from the bootlid, which is only composite because that’s where all the aerials and receiverware sits, and most things like that don’t like to be sheathed in metal.
What it means to us, is 626bhp (up 7.5 percent) and a whopping 25 per cent more torque, available in less than a third of the time versus the old engine. This is all excellent news. Because it means that the GT now hits – in ‘standard’ form, don’t forget – 0-62mph in 3.7s and 207mph, with in-gear acceleration that’ll push your eyebrows past your hairline. I’m also of the opinion that there’s a fair amount of headroom in this architecture – 850bhp SuperSport in a couple of years, anyone?
But it’s still a front-engined W12. So that’s hello to nose-led handling again, then?
Again, no. There’s been engineering going on. And we’re not talking about someone doing some re-programming of the damper settings with a laptop. The W12 has been moved down and back, to the point where the front driveshafts now run through the bottom of the sump. In fact, there’s only 1.5mm of clearance down there, and the results are obvious. One, the centre of gravity has dropped a bit, and two, that has allowed the bonnet to be lower and the front wheels to move forwards – you don’t need to be a physics graduate to appreciate these are Good Things.