Test Drive: Bentley Continental GT Speed 12-Cylinder

You’re on the lookout at a unicorn. You could guess I’m chatting about the rate of the Bentley Continental GT Velocity: $274,900. That presently puts the two-as well as-two British supercar far out of get to of the common Mini purchaser. Nope. The Bentley Continental GT Pace has genetic rarity under the bonnet (go through: hood). The beast quaking this Bentley is a 12-cylinder, fire-respiration, gasoline-fueled jewel that blasts 650hp and 664 ft. lbs. of torque. And for apparent motives this type of propulsion is no extended in trend, even in the eff-everyone-else baller realm of supercars.

Bentley’s not stupid: Even their buyer base is promptly switching channels to Bentley’s hybrid choices and the model has committed to a prepare wherever, starting in 2.5 yrs, they’ll fall a new EV every single yr by way of 2030. They’re also committing to all their manufacturing getting carbon neutral. These objectives take place to be small business-savvy. No one would most likely say it out loud at Bentley’s HQ in Crewe, England, but if Tesla proved its Design S could supplant Ferraris in the garages of Silicon Valley titans and Lucid’s Air is proving a achievable successor (and with no a doubt, so will Rivian’s R1T and the new EV Hummer, and so forth.) then the Bentleys of the environment need to evolve as very well.

But…there’s a tails facet to every single coin. Visualize a world 20 several years from now when a thing that operates on gasoline is progressively strange. You could possibly have to pay out a hefty luxury tax to even wield this kind of a equipment, and very likely, in that scarce atmosphere, the only position to travel such a motor vehicle would be a associates-only keep track of. Automobiles like just one of the very last 12-cylinders built may perhaps be verboten on city streets—but they’ll really very likely be great investments even if they seldom run.

With that buy-and-maintain context in thoughts, listed here are a few sides that stand out on a auto that’s not even seeking that really hard to be “stealth.”

Twelve-cylinder engine
Courtesy Image

Far more Than the Sum of Its Cylinders

The twin-turbocharged W-12 configuration of this motor is abnormal, even in the realm of twelve-cylinder motors. And as pointed out, it’s not likely to stick all over, however the actuality is that even for all its prowess (-60mph in 3.5 seconds and a 208 mph leading pace are no joke), the joy of this Bentley is not located in sprinting. It’s in slaloming.

Bentley’s air-adaptive suspension, as effectively as digital energetic anti-roll bars prevent the Conti from wallowing even as you bang 5,011 kilos of mass all over turns. It is an working experience that can’t assist but make you giggle. It’s absurd that a car or truck this at ease and plush (and hush!) on the interstate wants to dance all around each individual sinew of double-yellow place lane.

Now, this is not pretty magic. All Continental GTs get all-wheel drive, but the Speed edition also adds 4-wheel steering, so it’s more rapidly to flip into a corner under throttle—and that practical tuck-in presented by the rear wheels can make the Bentley dart like a much scaled-down, a great deal lighter car or truck. It helps that Bentley’s reformulated the electricity break up of that all-wheel-travel program to bias torque to 90 p.c rear most of the time. The automobile feels sportier at each individual apex, like it wishes to wag its tail, then ability shifts ahead to pull the steering back again straight. Grab a large fistful of paddle to downshift the manumatic eight-velocity gearbox just just before a bend and the total recipe gets even tastier.

Interior of luxury car
Courtesy Graphic

The Satan Is in the Specifics

Test-driving a vehicle like this is an exercise in envy. And even if you are quite wealthy, the sheer perfection of a cabin so effectively executed will have you calling your private architect and grilling them to duplicate just about every past thread and fitment to the interior of your mansion.

Not that it is all precisely everyone’s cup of Earl Gray. The matter to duplicate is the high-quality of execution, not always the unique aesthetic decisions.

On our loaner, the carbon fiber dashboard and lacquer-everywhere you go alongside with diamond-in-diamond quilting on the seats had a rented jet-set high quality that was distinctly around the top rated. Not to fret. Bentleys are rarely acquired “off the rack.” You can select from 26 material and cover solutions for seating and inside panels, and there are myriad tricky-surface area components to mull more than. This doesn’t even start out to contact the customization probable both, considering that Bentley’s aim is that no two vehicles are alike. And why not? If you’re in for practically $300,000, why not use the canvas they are featuring to paint your very own masterpiece?

Irrespective of material choice, you will have seats outfitted with therapeutic massage and heating/cooling features. They are so comfy, it’s tough to pry yourself absent even after hrs behind the wheel. It doesn’t damage that the 2200-watt, 20-speaker/subwoofer audio process will darn in close proximity to make you cry at its astonishing sonic clarity.

Also, for all those people who might instead choose a tremendous-cramped sports car or truck, go in advance. What the Continental GT Pace presents is not just speed, but authentic convenience. The backseats may possibly be smaller, but they exist, as does a fairly sized trunk. This is a gran-tourer in the classic perception, so you’re never ever deafened by a droning exhaust, bellowing engine, or beating-you-to-submission suspension. Get absent for a weekend in this supercar and you’ll arrive fresher than when you still left.

Grey car in showroom
Courtesy Graphic

Body weight-ing for the Future

One revelation that’s arrived at the rear of any EV operator is that all that excess weight in the basement corners improved. Speedy-twitch has a location, no question, but what is been more desirable a short while ago is generating the most of…assets. Even even though an EV has to be heavy, placing batteries in the ground can give even a softly sprung machine a planted feeling that lends the driver sharper regulate.

Welcome to the club, all you newcomers.

Even though the GT Velocity is entirely fuel-driven, driving this car is like on the lookout via a wormhole. You are gazing back in time at all the things Bentley appreciates what to do with weight—and at the same time looking at a highway map to the company’s EV upcoming. Simply because if they can reach this substantially poise with a automobile with this a lot excess weight on the front axle, just visualize what they could possibly do with a correctly even balance of power and bulk.

If you have the implies, plunk down your Black Card for the Continental GT Speed, pronto. But there’s hope, also, that a car or truck like this heralds even more creative imagination for what Bentley can change out occur 2025.

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