|Bentley’s Continental GT is beautiful no matter the trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I know. Bentley’s Continental GT is nothing new. In my part of the country you’re bound to see one drive by daily, yet I never tire of its lines. Its 2011 redesign refined the curvaceous theme, and the 2016 update added fresh new elements, although in both cases Crewe made sure not to mess with the formula that’s allowed this car unprecedented success.
Personal time well spent with two-door Bentley hardtops began before the modern-day Continental GT transformed the entire ultra-luxury sector in 2004, yet
|Grace and power motorized, the GT coupe defines rolling sculpture. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This much chrome mesh on another car might be overkill, but it’s picture-perfect with the GT. And those lights-the circling LEDs-fabulous day or night. Muscular curves are everywhere, as are delicate metal brightwork details like the B-shaped front fender vents, wraparound rear bumper moulding, discrete taillight surrounds,
|Trademark lighting you can spot a mile away. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
They’re shod in ZR-rated 273/35 Pirelli P Zeros after all, hardly a poseur’s tire. Neither is the Continental GT’s 275/40ZR20 base set. Likewise, below that long, shapely hood is the model’s base engine, a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 sending 500 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque down to all four wheels through a quick-shifting ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic with manual mode and grippy knurled metal steering column-mounted paddles.
|New B-shaped fender vents add elegance while optional 21-inch alloys provide substance. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The V8 growl is real, but its exuberance hushed. The GT’s 2,300-kilo curb weight felt, but considerably less so than you might think. By the time you’ve read this sentence you’re at, wait for it… 100km/h, unless you’re a slow reader. Yes, I timed that on my stopwatch so it would take exactly five seconds. Crazy attention to detail? Probably. But nothing less would do justice to this car.
|An interior like no other. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Few cars deliver so much driver control, or more precisely few cars allow their driver to feel so completely in control while actually saving them from themselves. I don’t mean to offend, but most of us aren’t
|Mark my words, mechanical instruments will eventually become pricey options. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Of course, it can’t deliver the raw sensation of exposed aluminum framework, uncarpeted floorboards, hardly padded seats, and
|Love these column-mounted knurled metal paddles. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Believe me, you’ll be comfortable. Even if three’s a crowd the GT is a lot more accommodating than most personal coupes. I took opportunity to sit behind the driver’s seat after positioning it for my five-foot-eight frame and found plenty of knee and legroom, plus ample space over my head. At 358 litres the trunk is sizeable enough too, and finished nicer than most premium cars’ passenger compartments.
|Does this Breitling run fast? It does when fixed to a Bentley. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The perforations allow for ventilated cooling up front, this option joined by standard heatable cushions, while both driver and front passenger can enjoy the benefit of optional massaging seats as well. Additional options in this car include spectacular matte carbon inlays around the primary instruments, ahead of the front passenger, down the centre stack, on top and on the backside of the lower console, plus directly above on the overhead console. The metals are exquisitely finished,
|Bentley’s artisans create artful metalwork. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The white on black analogue metres in the primary gauge cluster are lovely, rimmed in metal with the space between filled by colour TFT technology. Seeing these makes me wonder when we’ll all get bored with fully configurable gauge clusters and want to go back to purer mechanical dials. By then it’ll be a luxury we’ll be forced to pay more for, similar to choosing a much pricier handmade mechanical wristwatch over a more accurate quartz, or personal wearable from Apple or Samsung.
|Stunning sport seats are incredibly comfortable. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The display below includes standard navigation, while its rearview camera, assisted by front and rear parking sensors, was especially helpful. As you might expect there were many more standard and optional features included in this luxurious two-door, such as an electromechanical parking brake, a heatable multifunction
|There’s room for two adults in back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This said you don’t buy a Bentley to show off its features to your friends at the club. Let’s face it. You can do that with a top-line Kia. The Continental GT is about much more than that. It’s about beauty. It’s about engineering. It’s about painstakingly detailed handcrafted perfection. No… take that back. It’s more about appreciating the purposeful imperfections that only occur when building something by hand. You achieve that when a car’s sheetmetal isn’t solely welded together by robots and its interior not formed from extruded plastic. Instead, it becomes a Continental
|Even the engine is gorgeous! (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I’ll always appreciate this era of Continental GT, even when Bentley replaces it with an entirely new model next year. This car represents a dozen-plus years of refinement, and trust me they’ve got it spot on. If you’ve never owned a Bentley, you must imbibe. If you already have, you certainly don’t need my invitation or any motivation to get another. Life is short. Enjoy it fully.
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