Photography by Bentley Motors
08 April 2021
Designed, engineered, developed and handcrafted in Bentley’s carbon neutral luxury automotive factory, this new third-generation model builds on a long tradition of Speed variants.
The new Continental GT Speed is hailed as “the most capable, performance-focused Bentley ever – with no compromise to comfort or luxury”.
Originally introduced with the highly-acclaimed, first generation Continental GT Speed in 2007 – itself inspired by the 3-Litre Speed models of the 1920s – the latest GT Speed continues the bloodline by representing the ultimate combination of luxury and performance in a Grand Touring package.
Dr Matthias Rabe, Member of the Board for Engineering at Bentley Motors said “The new Continental GT Speed represents the very pinnacle of performance grand touring”.
“This new model is the most powerful expression of Continental GT values, exciting and dynamic, with unique Speed detailing to enhance the ownership experience and offering customers more control over the character of the car.
“The world’s most luxurious Grand Tourer is now truly more capable than ever before, with a new sportier edge which will appeal to performance-focused drivers.
“The Speed is the latest chapter in the Continental GT story, helping Bentley customers to create their own extraordinary journeys.”
New Chassis Technology – True Sporting Potential
The pinnacle performance Continental GT features advanced chassis technology harnessed specifically for the new model. New Electronic All-Wheel Steering enhances the dynamic nature of the Speed in BENTLEY and COMFORT driving modes.
However, this is even more apparent in SPORT mode, as the steering combines with Bentley Dynamic Ride and an electronic limited slip differential for a level of agility unlike any other Bentley road car. At low and medium speeds, the GT Speed’s rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction to the front wheels to aid a rapid change of direction, noticeably increasing the feeling of nimbleness.
The steering feels sharper and with a quicker ratio, and a commensurate increase in steering feel provides even more driver confidence. At high speeds, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front, to improve stability. The system is significantly more active on the GT Speed than it is on the Flying Spur, where its primary purpose is a reduction in turning circle and enhanced high-speed stability.
Featuring Active All-Wheel drive, the traction control and torque distribution has been recalibrated in all driver modes to provide a noticeable character shift relative to the standard Continental GT.
Working alongside these systems are the key chassis technologies that deliver body control and ride comfort with no compromise to one another – namely Bentley’s three-chamber active air suspension with adaptive damping, and Bentley Dynamic Ride – the 48V active anti-roll control system that Bentley pioneered on the Bentayga and third-generation Continental GT.
This innovative system features powerful electric motors within each anti-roll bar to resist body roll. In their firmest setting, the motors can deliver 1300 Nm in 0.3 seconds to counteract cornering forces and keep the body level. Meanwhile, depending on the mode, the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) System allows the driver to experience an even greater level of freedom before the Speed’s safety systems intervene to correct any anomalies.
To complement the extra capability of the chassis, a newly-engineered Carbon Ceramic brake system has been introduced as an option on the GT Speed. Carbon Silicon Carbide discs provide additional brake bite, with a strong, firm brake pedal feel and excellent brake fade resistance. Ten-piston front callipers and four-piston rears supply incredible braking force – needed when up to 10 MJ of energy are converted to heat in a full stop from top speed. The carbon ceramic material also saves over 33-kilograms of weight (all of it un-sprung mass) and produces extremely low levels of brake dust, helping to maintain the fresh look of the 22” unique Speed wheels.
Continental GT Speed – Thrilling Performance
The new GT Speed is the ultimate performance-focused expression of Bentley’s definitive Grand Tourer, yet maintains the luxury, comfort and usability of its siblings. It is equipped with an uprated version of Bentley’s renowned 6.0-litre W12 TSI engine, delivering 659 PS (650 bhp) – a 4 percent increase of 24 PS over the current W12 model – whilst maintaining an extraordinary 900 Nm (664 lb.ft) of torque.
With exceptional handling, this results in a top speed of 208 mph (335 km/h) and 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds), a reduction of 0.1 second. Both engine and transmission have been deliberately calibrated to suit the car’s driver-focused credentials. This is most noticeable in SPORT mode, where the twin-turbocharged W12 has been tuned to keep the engine in the power band longer by up-shifting later or downshifting earlier.
This creates a more eager response to the driver’s throttle inputs. The dual-clutch, eight-speed transmission shift is twice as fast in SPORT mode as in the standard W12 model, in keeping with the Speed’s ethos.
This combines with a greater exhaust character during start-up and downshifts.
Not only does the Continental GT Speed offer impressive performance, to maximise efficiency the model benefits from Bentley’s Stop-Start technology where the engine rests not only when the vehicle is stationary, but also at near-to-stop speeds.
Bentley’s Variable Displacement system shuts down half of the engine’s 12 cylinders under certain conditions with the transitions between the two being imperceptible to the driver. Intake and exhaust valves, fuel injection and ignition are all shut down on defined cylinders, with the engine running as a six-cylinder for improved fuel efficiency.
Exterior Detail – GT Speed’s Statement of Intent
The muscular bodywork of the Continental GT has been amplified still further on the GT Speed.
Unique exterior detailing complements a powerful, athletic stance, blending seamlessly with the effortless elegance inherent to the Continental GT. Speed models add a Dark Tint radiator grille and lower bumper grille, as well as unique, more sculpted sports sills, a Dark Tint radiator matrix and discreet Speed badging in chrome on the front fender.
Another signature feature of the most potent version of the Continental GT is unique, 22-inch Speed wheels in bright silver, with the option of a dark tint or black gloss finish. “Jewel” versions of the fuel and oil filler caps are standard, while illuminated Bentley treadplates to both sills are a nod to the Speed’s performance credentials.
A Unique and Luxurious Cabin
The cabin of the new Continental GT Speed showcases Bentley’s expertise in creating the world’s finest automotive interiors. Handcrafted materials blend with unique trim and badging that are only available in the Speed and can be further personalised if desired.
Bentley’s Diamond in Diamond quilting is included as standard, and Speed embroidered headrests distinguish the cabin of the most potent Continental GT. As with all Continental GTs, the Speed offers four seats and exceptional grand touring luggage capacity of 358 litres.
Packed with exquisite detail, a technologically advanced instrument panel and the acclaimed Bentley Rotating Display, the new driver-focused model widens the Continental GT’s performance credentials.