Bentley Continental

Bentley has traditionally used the Continental moniker for several of its models since 1952. Regardless of the year and specifications, though, Bentley has reserved the Continental name for touring models with the most powerful engines.

More on the Bentley Continental
Bentley Continental Origins

Originally owned by Rolls-Royce when the first Continental was first made, the Volkswagen Group bought Bentley in 1998. The new owners, however, did not choose to release a significantly updated version of the Continental until 2003 when it built the all-new Continental GT performance coupe. Since then, the Volkswagen Group has made minor modifications to the Continental. It currently sells the Continental GTC and the Bentley Continental Supersports, a limited edition vehicle that can run on gasoline or biofuel.

About the Bentley Continental

The Bentley Continental is known as one of the highest trim levels manufactured by Bentley. Although the Continental name has been bestowed upon numerous Bentley cars, it has always been reserved for the best.

Bentley Continental Features

The 2012 Bentley Continental is available as the Continental GT. It is very similar to the other Continental GTs produced in recent years. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, when an average consumer considers that it comes with standard all-wheel drive, a powerful engine, and customizable trim levels. The 2012 Continental GT does, however, have more legroom for passengers in the rear seats. It also has updated electronics to keep up with technological changes of the past few years. Luckily, the 2012 Continental also weighs 143 pounds less than the previous year's model. Although it's still quite large, the lighter weight gives it slightly better handling and improves fuel efficiency.

Bentley Continental Evolution

The first Bentley Continental was the 1952 Mark VI. Although it was in production since 1946, it did not receive the Continental name until 1952, when a select number of the vehicles were built with a high compression ratio engine, a modified fuel system, and a new exhaust system for higher performance.

During 1952, Rolls-Royce, which owned Bentley at the time, decided to make some changes to the Continental Mark IV. Later that year, it released the R-Type Continental, which had a slightly different carburetor and exhaust system than the Continentals produced earlier in the year.

In 1955, Bentley released its Continental S series, of which there were three variations: the S1, S2, and S3. The Continental S1 (1955-1959), was nearly the same as the Bentley S1. The Continental, however, had a "drophead coupe" convertible body and a lighter fixed head. The Continental S2 (1959-1962) made improvements on the standard S2 model by adding a higher performance engine and an altered transmission that suited the car's lighter body. The Continental S3 (1962-1965) made dramatic improvements on the standard S3. It had a more powerful engine, lighter body, and improved transmission that gave it considerable power.

Bentley stopped manufacturing the Continental in 1965, but the model remerged in 1984. The 1984-1995 Bentley Continental was essentially another name for the Rolls-Royce Corniche II. The company only manufactured about 3,500 vehicles. Of those, about 325 were coupes. The remaining vehicles were produced as convertibles.

Bentley introduced the Continental R in 1991. The 1991 Bentley Continental R included many innovations that Bentley would continue to explore in future releases. The Continental R, for instance, was the first car to include the GM 4L80-E automatic transmission, which helped make it the quickest Bentley of the year. This was also the first Bentley since 1965 that did not share a body with a Rolls-Royce model.

From 1994 to 1995, Bentley also sold a Continental S. From 1996 to 2002, the automaker sold the Bentley Continental T. It was a sportier versions of the standard Continental R. It had better handling and more power, making them attractive to consumers that wanted to sophistication of a Bentley but the raw power of a sports car.

In 2003, Bentley introduced the Continental GT. This vehicle had a dramatically different body from the Continental T. The sleek design brought Bentley into a new era of aesthetics, but the company still focused on putting plenty of power under the hood by including a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W-12 engine borrowed from Volkswagen and Audi (modified significantly) and including all-wheel drive that distributed power to each wheel for maximum handling.

In 2005, the company released the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, which was a four-door sedan version.

In 2011, Bentley revised the Continental GT, which is now available with a new V-8 engine or the stalwart W-12. The company made minor improvements to the vehicle before releasing its latest version for the 2012 model year.

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