New-look Bentley Continental GT swaps W12 for PHEV power

Bentley Continental GT Speed lead
Bentley Continental GT Speed lead

Move from dual to single headlight clusters is “the biggest change in the last two decades” for the Conti

The new Continental GT Speed is the first car to use Bentley’s Ultra Performance Hybrid powertrain and ushers in a bold new design language for the electrified era.

Evolved from the outgoing car, the new Continental GT has a substantial carry-over of bodywork and interior technology but it has been refreshed significantly enough to be homologated as a new car, Bentley claims, with 68% of the parts replaced.

Headlining the update is the addition of a new V8-engined PHEV powertrain that replaces the British firm’s retired W12 engine. The new set-up more than makes up for the four-cylinder deficit, with the petrol and electric motors combining to put out 771bhp – making this Bentley’s most powerful road car yet.


Due to be introduced to the Flying Spur saloon and Bentayga SUV as well, the PHEV powertrain pairs an evolved version of Bentley’s 4.0-litre V8 and a 188bhp motor within the automatic gearbox, its energy supplied by a 25.9kWh battery under the boot floor. Bentley claims it will go up to 50 miles with the engine off at speeds of up to 87mph.

The new GT is also Bentley’s quickest road car yet, covering 0-62mph in 3.2sec and topping out at 208mph. The drop-top GTC, which is being launched alongside the coupé for the first time, takes only 0.2sec longer. The chassis has been substantially upgraded too.

It has gained a new-generation stability control system, an uprated anti-roll system and new suspension components that allow for “more sophisticated tuning options”.

With the battery mounted at the back, the Continental now has 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution so is “inherently balanced during dynamic driving”, according to Bentley.

In full-bore Dynamic mode, the drivetrain is tuned to let the rear axle slip slightly so the driver has greater control of power deployment mid-corner, but “a safety net to bring the car back in line if required”.

The technical reinvention comes alongside a significant styling revamp in which the Continental takes cues from the highly exclusive Batur and Bacalar from Bentley’s Mulliner division. Most obvious among these are the striking new headlight designs, with a new ‘eyebrow’ motif that will become a defining feature of Bentley’s new-era front ends.

The firm also highlights the cleaner, more “muscular” bodywork – featuring fewer creases and lines – and reworked rear end as highlights of the refresh.

The interior is more familiar, but there are new materials and equipment options for the fourthgeneration car, including a collection of exclusive features from the Mulliner personalisation division. Deliveries will start in autumn, with prices starting from £236,000.