The new high-performance Speed version of the Bentley Continental GT is here, and as of April 13, it comes in a convertible version as well.
It has a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 engine with 650 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.
Bentley says it will go from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds (3.6 seconds for the convertible) and has a top speed of 208 mph.
UPDATE 4/13/21: Bentley released details on the convertible version of the Continental GT Speed, which comes with a choice of seven roof coolors—including tweed—and eight interior roof liner finishes. The roof system, which opens or closes in 19 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph, uses a Z-fold structure for better noise reduction, and the seats have an integrated neck warmer.
No Bentley is short of speed, but the British luxury maker reserves use of its Speed branding to its highest performance derivatives. The Continental GT Coupe has now been granted membership to this club, and the new 2022 GT Speed certainly looks suitably fast and imposing in these first official pictures.
Despite its name, the Continental GT Speed is not substantially quicker than the car it is based on—at least not in a straight line. Power comes from Bentley's long-serving twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12, tuned to deliver 650 horsepower in this application. That's 24 hp more than the regular Conti GT W-12, but both cars share the same torque figure of 664 pound-feet. Bentley claims a zero-to-6o-mph time of just 3.5 seconds, one-tenth quicker than the corresponding figure for the standard W-12. The Speed's top speed is 208 mph, a 1-mph improvement.
Yet the Speed is about more than just raw speed, with Bentley promising it will be considerably more agile than the existing car. It is the first Continental coupe to get rear-wheel steering. This is a development of the system fitted to the longer Flying Spur sedan, and it's said to both improve maneuverability and sharpen the car's reactions. The Speed also gets a new electronically controlled torque-vectoring differential at the rear. A rearward power bias from the all-wheel-drive system and more permissive stability control will enable drivers to experience the Speed's more playful side, and with ESC deactivated the company says it will even be possible to persuade it into oversteer.
The Speed gets air springs, adaptive dampers, and Bentley's Dynamic Ride system, which utilizes active anti-roll bars. Buyers will be able to choose the option of carbon-ceramic brakes for the first time on this generation of Continental, which are said to save 72 pounds of weight compared to the regular cast-iron discs. Twenty-two-inch wheels will be standard.
Bentley has also sharpened the responses of the Speed's eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is able to change gear up to 100 percent faster, as the overlap time between the clutches disengaging and engaging has been reduced to zero. The difference varies depending on mode and the ratios involved, but as an example Bentley says that the shift from third to fourth in the Speed's Sport mode takes between 150 and 170 milliseconds, compared to 300 to 320 milliseconds in the regular GT.
The Speed’s design has also been turned up to indicate its presence at the top of the Continental range. It gets a dark-tinted grille and lower front bumper intake as standard, heavily scalloped finishers for the side sills, and discreet "Speed" badging in addition to the "12" logos on the front fender vents that indicate the presence of the W-12 engine. The cabin gets more microfiber, optional carbon-fiber dashboard finishers, and a standard diamond-quilted seat pattern.
We don't have pricing details yet, but can safely predict the Speed will carry a sizable supplement over the $224,225 Continental GT coupe. Bentley says deliveries will begin in the third quarter of the year.
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