Bentley Continental GT (2018) Review
Bentley Continental GT (2018) At A Glance
There’s absolutely no ambiguity about what the Bentley Continental GT is, as its name says it all. Even so, the idea of a grand turismo car that you’d thrash through Europe to visit friends in high places and party hotspots might be completely outmoded in the days of inexpensive air travel, but the Bentley Continental GT is still utterly relevant in the world of fast, luxurious cars, with a breadth of ability that makes it hugely compelling choice to those who buy it. Indeed, if you’ve only one parking place outside your Belgravia or Beverly Hills property then a Continental GT is the perfect all-rounder to put in it.
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The Continental GT was originally introduced by Bentley back in 2003, and it’s been a huge success for the company. Bankrolled by Volkswagen, the Continental might have had a rich benefactor behind it, and borrow some parts from within its parent company, but it was and remains quintessentially Bentley. The interior is all but incomparable in its indulgent luxury and on the road it has a bandwidth of capability that really does mean you could run one as a daily driver, and many do. Just try that with any of its rivals and you’ll forever be dealing with compromises.
The Bentley Continental GT is, then, a supremely capable all-rounder, with ample power, surefooted four-wheel, a sizeable boot for your luggage, a pair of +2 proportioned seats in the rear for occasional use and the sort of effortless urge and languid ease that makes driving it an absolute joy. Specify it with the optional Comfort Specification, which adds massaging seats – their intensity such that you’d swear Bentley’s seconded a masseuse in that pew behind you – and you’ll be so relaxed in it you’ll never want to get out of it. The fit and finish is exceptional, and, being a Bentley, almost every material inside it can be specified to your exact choice of finishes, colours or texture. Obviously, all that scope for personalisation means that the Continental isn’t inexpensive, but it never feels anything than worth every penny it’s cost, and more.
It isn’t, it has to be said, as compelling to drive up an Alpine pass as something like an Aston Martin DB11 or Ferrari Portofino, nor is it as outrageous in its performance or agility as a Porsche 911 Turbo S, while things like BMW’s 8 Series or Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class coupe offer more technology and a bit more space. That’s fine, because none the Continental GT’s ‘rivals’ can match its feeling of utter imperviousness on the road, or the deeply satisfying feeling when you’re sat in its interior, pawing the rich, warm chrome and fine action of the organ stop pulls for the ventilation, or just enjoying the absolute ease by which the Continental GT answers anything you ask of it. Actually, there is one car that rivals it here, the Rolls-Royce Wraith, but the entry-level price for that only underlines that, ludicrous as it might sound, the Bentley Conti GT is actually something of a luxury bargain.
There’s more choice than just the hue of the leather, or the grain of the wood inside, too, indeed, the Bentley Continental GT can be described as having a range, insomuch as it’s possible to have it with a choice of two engines – fast, or faster still with either the 4.0-litre 550PS twin-turbo V8 or 6.0-litre 635PS twin-turbo W12 – both engines offered in coupe or convertible guises. In 2020 Bentley also offered a Continental GT with an entirely Mulliner coachbuilt, speedster style open-roofed body named Bacalar for 12 people with the necessary expendable expenditure to be able to drop a cool £1.5m on it. Such is the clamour among the super-rich in the world these days for such exclusive machinery, it sold out, immediately, Bentley saying it could have sold many, many more, but won’t. Kudos. It’s not limited to how many regular Continental GTs it builds, if you could ever describe the big, capable coupe/convertible as regular, which you can’t because it’s very special indeed.