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Test driving the next-generation Bentley Continental GT

Test driving the next-generation Bentley Continental GT

The next-generation Bentley Continental GT seeks to be the definitive grand tourer. Guy Dundas takes the new Bentley coupé for a test drive.

Designers and engineers at Bentley’s Crewe headquarters in the UK have completely overhauled the Continental GT. Their goal: to deliver the ultimate grand tourer, a car that is “the epitome of luxury, refinement and performance”.

This revolutionised iteration has enhanced technology and many new gadgets. An optional interface rotates between three faces, from a veneer panel to a 12.3” touchscreen display to three analogue dials. Other tech options include night vision with infrared camera and driver-focused instrument panel.

The quality of materials used in the cabin are lavish. A ‘diamond-in-diamond’ quilted pattern features on the leather seats, each one made by hand and comprising 712 stitches. There are some 310,675 stitches in the entire vehicle. Now that’s British quality.

The Bentley Continental GT on the road

I put the Bentley Continental GT through its paces for 90 minutes on the back roads of the Gold Coast and northern NSW. Stop-start city driving, open motorways, winding laneways; over mountains, past cane fields: all terrain in which the grand tourer finds itself at home.

The 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 TSI engine is whisper-quiet inside the cabin. Accelerating in and out of corners, the car has incredible grip and traction. Climbing steep drags is effortless, requiring little pressure under the foot to respond. Gear changes of the eight-speed transmission are fast and super smooth. A car that can reach 100 kilometres per hour from a standing start in 3.7 seconds needs powerful brakes, and the 10-piston calipers on the huge 420-millimetre front discs provide confident deceleration.

We toggle between the three drive modes: ‘Comfort’, ‘Bentley’ and ‘Sport’, the latter being gutsy. A fourth ‘Custom’ mode enables owners to tailor the dynamic settings.

There is no standard, off-the-shelf Bentley Continental GT. Exterior paint, leather, veneer and lifestyle options are tailored. The four-seat Continental GT starts at $422,600+ and is yours in Australia six months after ordering.

This article originally appeared in volume 31 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.