First Drive
Bentley Continental GT Speed
Flying At The Sound Of Speed
Anyone who's ever climbed out of a Bentley Continental GT is unlikely to say: "Nice car, but it could do with more oomph." An official top speed of 198 mph is usually enough for most drivers. But that hasn't stopped Bentley from squeezing out more performance. The new Continental GT Speed is the result.

I say 'official' top speed because it's common knowledge that every production Continental GT and Flying Spur is capable of over 200 mph. It's just that, with typical British reserve, Bentley plays things down a bit. One UK journalist recently took a completely stock Flying Spur to a verified 208 mph, with four adults inside and the air conditioning on full blast. No drama, just speed. Lots and lots of lovely, glorious speed.

So it's fitting that this new model, with an 'official' velocity of 202 mph is called the GT Speed. It's inspired by the legendary 'Speed' models of the 1920s, which were more performance-oriented versions of existing cars. And the new GT Speed is faster than the Continental GT, not through any weight reduction or aerodynamic advances, but because of extensive engineering.

One of Bentley's reasons for beefing up the Continental GT was that customers were returning their cars to the factory after they'd been 'tuned' (by various so-called specialists) to liberate more power. It turns out that increasing boost and remapping the engine management systems results in the world's most expensive pile of swarf. So the company decided to give customers what they wanted: a faster Continental GT, but one that can take the stresses of more power.

The engine remains a 6.0-liter, quad-cam, twin-turbo W12 masterpiece, now overhauled with new, stronger internals and a revised engine management system. There's a reworked crankcase, a lighter camshaft drive, lighter connecting rods and stronger pistons. Power is up by nine percent to 600 hp and torque up by 15 percent to 553 lb-ft. The zero-to-60 mph time is 4.3 seconds and 100 mph comes up in just 10.3 seconds. Let's not forget, this car weighs two and a half tons, which equates to a couple of early Porsche 911s. Just imagine what this engine could do in a smaller, lighter vehicle.

Bentleys have always been about more than plain facts and figures. An effortless grand tourer, the Continental GT redefines how one thinks a car should be built. Swing the heavy door, hear the solid thunk and you're insulated from the world in double-glazed, leather- and wood-lined luxury. There's nowhere else you'd rather be. Press the correct button and you'll even get a back massage at 200 mph.

Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!