Bentley Continental GT Origins
Since 1952, Bentley has been using the name Continental for cars with more powerful engines than most standard cars. These cars reach high speeds and are built for this purpose; comfort is less of an issue. The Continental name refers to the fact that, to drive on a road for any length of time at these higher speeds the driver has to travel to continental Europe, as no high-speed roads of significant length can be found in England.Bentley Continental GT Features
The second generation of the Bentley Continental GT was launched for the 2011 model year. A two-door coupe, and convertible (designated the GTC) are available. While the current generation of the Bentley Continental GT has been undated from the previous generation, much remains the same. One significant change is that Bentley offers a four-liter V-8 in addition to the standard W-12 twin-turbo engine. Both the coupe and the convertible versions come with either the six-liter W-12 engine or the four-liter V-8 engine. While the latest generation of the Bentley Continental GT has more power than the first generation, the look of it hasn't changed—it only includes minor cosmetic adjustments.
Although the power of the Bentley Continental GT has increased, mechanical changes and updates have also improved its gas mileage. Equipped with FlexFuel technology, the Continental GT can run on gasoline, bioethanol (E85), or any combination of the two fuel types. The power rating of the W-12 engine has improved to 567 horsepower. The Quickshift six-speed automatic transmission reduces shift times by 50 percent.
The V-8 version of the Bentley Continental GT includes other modifications as well. Cosmetic changes enhance the sporty nature of the V-8 with 21-inch wheels designed by Bentley specifically for this car. Instead of the six-speed automatic transmission, the Bentley Continental GT V8 contains an eight-speed transmission. By providing more gears, the engine always runs at the most efficient gear for its speed.Bentley Continental GT Evolution
The first generation of the Bentley Continental GT saw production from 2003 to 2010. Unlike its predecessors, which were Rolls Royce-based vehicles, the Continental GT is built on the Volkswagen Phaeton platform. The first models to roll off the production line were two-door, 2+2 luxury coupes equipped with six-liter twin-turbo W-12 engines that have a power rating of 552 horsepower. The engine has a W designation due to the fact that the cylinders are arranged in a W shape, versus a V shape as seen with V-designated engines. The layout of the W-12 engine within the Bentley Continental GT is one of the most compact 12-cylinder engines in any vehicle.
The Bentley Continental GT has a front engine, permanent four-wheel drive layout. The engine is mounted longitudinally due to its size. This is not uncommon in most premium cars and supercars, as the engine is often too long to mount across the vehicle as in standard cars. Permanent four-wheel drive comes standard on the Bentley Continental GT. It includes a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission only, which permits the driver manual gear selection if desired.
In 2005, Bentley introduced a four-door version of the Bentley Continental GT, as well as a convertible version. The four-door version carries the name Bentley Continental Flying Spur, and has been available in the North American market since summer 2005. The convertible version of the Bentley Continental GT is named the GTC. While Bentley introduced it in September 2005, it was not available for sale until the following year.
2007 saw the introduction of the Bentley Continental GT Speed. This is a more powerful version of the Bentley Continental GT with both the power and top speed of the car increased. The horsepower rating for the Bentley Continental GT Speed is 592, and it reaches a top speed of 201 mph. The model shows minor exterior changes from the Bentley Continental GT, but its overall weight is 77 pounds less. In 2009, the convertible version was launched as the Bentley Continental GTC Speed.