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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed

PRICE : 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8 $175,700
PRICE : 2013 Bentley Continental GT Base $196,700
PRICE : 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed $215,000

The 2013 Continental GT Speed is the fastest production car Bentley has built to date. That will be enough for most buyers.

But if you crave details, there's the matter of a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 engine pushed to its performance edges, making 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. That's up 49 hp and 74 lb-ft from the standard Continental GT. Bentley says the GT Speed covers zero to 60 in 4 seconds flat, topping out at 205 mph. Improbably, the GT Speed also gets 12 percent better fuel economy, thanks in part to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Continental GT Speed also benefits from improved steering and suspension and a lower ride height, the better to coerce those 21-inch wheels in the direction you want to go.

A dark-tinted grille and lower air intakes give a distinct indication (and subtle intimidation) of this GT's business. The GT Speed also gets the Mulliner Driving Specification -- choice of wheel style, drilled alloy pedals, quilted leather on the seats, doors and rear quarter panels, knurled shifter -- standard.

Bentley hasn't suggested a price on its performance flagship, but it will slot above the standard 12-cylinder Continental GT, which starts at around $200,000. The new Continental GT Speed should arrive in October. Check back for a full review, including driving impressions, specs and buying advice as it becomes available.


The outside of the Continental GT Speed does a great job combining Bentley class with “Get outta my way” aggressiveness. The elegant shapes of the Continental GT Speed are derived from the standard Bentley DNA, including the dual-circle front lights, bulging wheel wells, and classic Bentley grille. The grilles on this new GT Speed are not the typical chrome plated, as they have a dark tint. The lower grille and air intakes pay a tribute to the Le Mans-winning Bentleys from the 1920s and cap off the front appearance of this luxury sports coupe.

The Continental GT Speed screams “stay out of my path” by the way of its short-for-a-Bentley hood, shallow-raked front fascia and windshield, and its fastback rear end. Its side profile is far and away the most telling of this car’s speed-greedy personality, as it sits right on the border of the sports car realm without quite crossing over into that area. This is a balancing act that requires great care in craftsmanship.

Bentley used advanced super-forming technology to create the fenders, which is a system that uses high heat and pressurized air, as opposed to hard molds, to create the shapes. This gives the body a fluid and flawless look that is unrivaled. The entire body is formed from aerospace-grade 5083 aluminum alloy.
The signature fat fenders are filled by 9.5J x 21-inch ten twin-spoke rims. You can rest assured that Bentley took care of you with the rims, as these are exclusive to the 2013 GT Speed. The rims are available in a smorgasbord of color options, ranging from bright paint to dark finishes.

The rear of the 2013 GT Speed features a set of rifled exhaust tips that are integrated with the rear bumper. Helping add to that sexy rear end is a chrome border around each taillight lens.
For buyers that just don’t think a Bentley is good enough as is, you can now opt for a “Classic Pack,” which adds in carbon-fiber front bumper grille strakes, a front splitter, side sill extension blades, and a rear bumper diffuser. This package also includes carbon-fiber mirror cowls and 21-inch “Elegant” wheels in a black finish.

You can get the GT Speed in the standard 17 colors available on any Continental model, but you can also opt for about 100 additional paint options. You can even go as far as sending the car to Bentley’s Bespoke department for some custom work, which Bentley put on display at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours.


Despite the GT Speed's sporting overtones, this grand tourer retains a hand-crafted interior created using only the finest natural materials. Soft, supple leathers, polished veneers and cool-touch metals combine with the meticulous craftsmanship for which Bentley is renowned to provide a cabin of exceptional quality.

As standard, the Bentley Continental GT Speed is specified with Bentley's luxurious yet sporting Mulliner Driving Specification, which features diamond-quilted, perforated leather hides to all four seats, door trims and rear quarter panels. The cabin headlining is finished in indented leather hide, while optional embroidered Bentley emblems can be specified for the headrests.

The sports gear lever has a classic knurled finish, while the driver uses drilled alloy sports foot pedals. The unique Bentley "Jewel" filler cap is provided as standard, as are Dark Stained Burr Walnut or Piano Black veneers.

With its gleaming, geometrically precise overlapping circles, engine-turned aluminium - also known as 'engine spin' - has indelible associations with Bentley sporting success. The dashboard of 'Old Number One' - the Speed Six that won two Le Mans 24 Hour races - is crafted from the same material. With such a pedigree it's natural that Bentley offers two engine spin options for the fascia and consoles - one in Bright Aluminium and the other, unique to the Bentley Continental GT Speed, in Dark Tint Aluminium. Its understated shade perfectly complements the dark tint chrome radiator and bumper grilles.

Alternatively, the more recent Bentley Le Mans success is reflected in choosing the Carbon Fibre option for fascia, roof and centre consoles, its satin finish specially developed to reduce unwelcome reflections.

Seventeen different hide colours are available and as with the rest of the Continental family, the interior of the GT Speed can be specified with duo-tone colour splits, including one split previously exclusive to GT V8. Contrast stitching throughout, including to the steering wheel, is also available.


Oh, Bentley just didn’t load up the interior with beautiful leather and metal trim, it also packed the GT Speed with an array of technological features. First thing you’ll notice is that there is an all-new 8-inch touchscreen on the bottom of the center stack, which displays the GT Speed’s audio system, telephone, ride settings, and navigation information. Also new is a 30 GB on-board infotainment system with DVD- or hard-drive-based satellite navigation.

The standard sound system in the GT Speed will be an 8-speaker variant with Balance Mode Radiator technology – an advancement that combines the low-frequency performance of traditional speakers with the wider directivity, shallow profile and sound quality of a flat-panel speaker. It boasts unique flat-panel speakers that pump out supremely clear audio across the full spectrum of sound. An 11-speaker Naim system is an optional feature on the GT Speed.

There are multiple music-storage mediums for the GT Speed. You can opt to connect your iPod straight to the GT Speed’s stereo system, put CDs in the CD changer, insert an SD card, or load up to 15 GB of music directly onto the car’s hard drive.

Technology was never an area that Bentley fell short on, but they definitely added more to the pot with these additions.


The GT Speed has to again find that healthy balance between sporty and comfortable when dealing with its handling and it looks as if Bentley achieved this. The GT Speed retains its basis suspension setup from last year – aluminum double-wishbone front and trapezoidal multilink rear – but there is one revision. This revision is to its air-springs and damper, which give it better agility and control, as it limits pitch, roll, and heave.

The GT Speed’s self-leveling system is always keeping a close eye on the ride height and dampers, and makes adjustments as needed. Bentley engineers also dropped the ride height of the GT Speed 10 mm (0.393 inches) to help lower its center of gravity. Stiffer suspension bushings translate a little more road feel to the cabin without compromising comfort – a tall task to achieve.

The electronic stability control (ESC) was revised to work more efficiently with the new engine management system. It also carries over the “Dynamic” mode from the last rendition of the GT Speed, allowing for a little more tire smoldering, if you please.

The Bentley is propelled via an all-wheel-drive system that helps enhance its handling capabilities. Keeping an AWD car in a good steering line is a common complaint and Bentley addressed this by tuning the AWD system to allow 60 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels. This eliminates the understeer issues that haunt AWD cars, while allowing the driver to better control the GT Speed via throttle feathering.

The GT Speed comes standard with disc brakes all around, of course. The front rotors measure 405 mm (15.94 inches) in diameter and are ventilated, and the ventilated rear rotors measure 335 mm (13.19inches). Squeezing the pads onto these discs are cast-iron 8-piston calipers. You can opt for additional braking performance by opting for the 420 mm (16.53-inch) rotors on the front and 356 mm (14.01-inch) rotors on the rear. These optional rotors are cross drilled carbon silicon-carbide (CSiC) and save 20 kg (44 lbs) over the standard brakes. To boot, these CSiC do not fade with heat and Bentley claims that they will last the life of the car under normal driving conditions and double brake pad life.

Bentley definitely went above and beyond to make sure that this 5,115-pound GT Speed handles and stops like a sports car.


As the fastest production Bentley ever, the new Bentley Continental GT Speed reaffirms the legendary W12's status as an engine of extreme performance. Developing 625 PS (616 bhp) at 6000 rev/min and 800 Nm (590 lb ft) of torque from 2000 rev/min, the twin-turbo, 48-valve, 6.0-litre W12 is now fitted with the very latest ME17 engine management system. Capable of performing 180 million individual calculations per second, the new system delivers enhanced turbocharger control, outstanding torque management and improvements to driveability. In addition, a revised Sport mode provides a sharper throttle with faster response for effortless acceleration at all speeds.

The W12 engine is mated to a ZF eight-speed transmission for the first time. Designed to handle the extreme levels of torque generated by the W12, the transmission cuts acceleration times by ensuring that the engine is always at the ideal speed for peak torque delivery. This state-of-the-art transmission also features "Block Shifting" technology, capable of shifting directly from (for example) 8th gear to 4th gear for instantaneous response and thunderous acceleration.

The combination of the new transmission and the uprated engine results in breath-taking supercar performance. The sprint from 0-60 mph takes just 4.0 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds) and the relentless acceleration continues to a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h). 0-100 mph is dispatched in a mere 9.0 seconds - a level of performance akin to the previous generation Continental Supersports, and almost a full second quicker than the updated 575 PS Continental GT.

The exhaust system of the Bentley Continental GT Speed has been developed from the free-breathing, low back pressure design first used on the Continental Supersports Ice Speed Record car. The new exhaust produces a sportier, more intense baritone sound under hard acceleration without sacrificing a relaxed, refined and quiet tone during cruising conditions.


For a car that is as much about comfort as it is about performance, suspension is a crucial area of development for the GTC. As with most convertible cars, the open-top experience is achieved at the cost of the cars structural rigidity and the GTC is no different. The Bentley engineers have enhanced body stiffness for superior ride quality and refinement.The cars track widened by 48 mm (rear) and 41 mm (front) and Bentley revised suspension design to improve dynamic handling.

As a result the GTC convertible body is the stiffest in the world (22,500 Nm /°-static) providing a firm foundation for the precise control of suspension components as well minimising scuttle shake, benefitting refinement and poise when the car is being pushed. This is achieved by reinforced ‘A’ posts and sills, and twin underbody cruciforms that connect the front and rear subframes.


We start our journey with the Bentley Continental GTC W12 at the Bentley and Aston Martin dealership in Munich. Here a shiny dark blue example of the GTC W12 is waiting for us. The weight of the doors leaves a first and lasting impression, it is so heavy that you wonder if we received the keys to a bullet proof version. That’s not the case, the doors weight is part due to the luxury nature of the GTC with extra thick isolated windows and leather and part to offer additional stiffness to the convertible.

Get in and start the engine and the W12 comes to life without much drama. Despite its impressive engine the Bentley Continental GTC W12 is not a screamer. It has a very sophisticated tune both in idle as under pressure. Push the pedal down and you can hear the 12 cylinders at work without waking up your neighbours, lift throttle and you hear a very silent but heavy drum. We would have enjoyed a bit more volume or a switch to make the exhaust heard, but on the other hand it suits its character as gentlemen’s cruiser.

In the center of Munich the Bentley GTC W12 gets little looks or attention when you drive by, but park up somewhere and the connaisseurs flock to the GTC to take a closer look. We leave Munich for what it is and steer the majestic nose of the Bentley towards Austria. In town you realize how big the Bentley is, luckily the park distance systems make parking easier and the Bentley logos make other people keep just that little bit extra distance. Out in the open the Bentley is all about comfort, the seats are spacious and make long journeys a pleasure. Thanks to the excellent noise isolation you don’t have the feeling you are driving a convertible at all with the top up.

Drop the top and you even have an air scarf that blows warm air into your neck from behind. The interior in general is finished with the highest quality materials and with the highest attention for detail. It is this that clearly sets Bentley and Rolls-Royce apart from the rest. The suspension takes all bumps and rough roads with ease. All this luxury and comfort also has a price though, the Continental GTC W12 weighs well in excess of two tonnes. This obviously has effects on the fuel economy but even more importantly on the handling. The GTC W12 dives forward under braking and swings backwards under acceleration in a way we have never experienced before. The cornering abilities have improved compared to the previous generation but the Bentley GTC W12 is still not a sportscar. If you do like a more sportier drive style we recommend the GTC V8, which is much lighter and more agile than the W12.

The true strength of the engine is the effortless acceleration from zero to its top speed. On the German autobahn the W12 shows you immediately where it feels at home. The ZF 8-Speed gearbox responds quickly, smooth and suits the W12 perfectly. The GTC can be ordered with most modern safety and comfort features like adaptive cruise control. Bentley, as part of the Volkswagen-Audi Group, uses various systems from its partners VW and Audi. This makes the systems easy to use and very reliable but also means they are not as cutting edge as the flagship models of Audi, BMW or Mercedes.

Across the border into Austria we leave the motorway and head for the town of Kitzbuhel. Upon our arrival on a random Thursday afternoon we find not one but two other Bentley GTCs parked in the center of this rather wealthy town. Parked up next to the previous generation GTC you can clearly see the subtle but refreshing overhaul the GTC received in 2011.

After a relaxing couple of days in the Austrian Mountains we return to Munich to join a local car gathering. The turn out was rather interesting with two Lamborghini Diablos, a Lamborghini Aventador, a dozen Ferraris and several other exotics. Among these exotic machines it was to our surprise that the Bentley got the most attention, other owners came over and all praised the Bentleys look and prestige.


At the heart of the new Continental GT Speed, Bentley has put in an updated version of the company’s 6-liter, 48-valve, four-cam, twin turbocharged W12 engine. In the new model, this engine delivers a total of 616 HP at 6000 rpm and a peak torque of 590 lbs-ft. This amount of power is enough to deliver supercar performance numbers: a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph (329 km/h).

The engine is mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission featuring intelligent adaptive control software to ensure the perfect combination of speed and refinement. This new system also helps lower the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by about 12%. The new GT Speed is also offered with a permanent all-wheel drive system, employing a central Torsen differential that ensures huge levels of grip and stability whatever the road or weather conditions.

Engine Summary:

Type:                                 V8 4.0 litres
Power:                         500 hp @ 6,000 rpm (373 kW)
Torque:                         487 lb·ft @ 1,700 - 5,000 rpm (660 N·m)
Induction:                         Turbocharged
Power to weight ratio: N/A
Bore:                                 84 mm
Stroke:                         89 mm
Fuel type:                         Premium
CO2 emissions:         5,490 kg/year
Ohter engines:                 none
Transmission:                 8-speed automatic
Drivetrain:                         AWD


Urban                                                  12.7mpg                         22.2 litres/100km
Extra-Urban                                  28.0mpg                     10.1 litres/100km
Combined                                          19.5mpg                     14.5 litres/100km
CO2 emissions (combined)           338g/km
City Driving                                  13.0 USmpg
Highway Driving                          20.0 USmpg
Combined                                          15.0 USmpg

 By : Automotive News & Super Modified Sports Cars

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