The New Continental GT Speed: Redefining the Definitive Grand Tourer

June 27, 2024 at 10:06 AM
The New Continental GT Speed: Redefining the Definitive Grand Tourer
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Bentley Motors has revealed the fourth generation Continental GT Speed, following in the 21-year tradition of the Continental GT family by redefining the ultimate blend of supercar performance, handcrafted luxury and everyday usability.

A comprehensive exterior and interior redesign with clean modern detailing follow the new design DNA established by the coachbuilt Bentley Bacalar and Batur. Outstanding performance is brought by an all-new Ultra Performance Hybrid powertrain with 782 PS and 1,000 Nm, from a 4.0-litre V8 working in tandem with a 190 PS electric motor. 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds is the result, with the benefit of 50 miles (81 km) of usable electric-only range (on the EU drive cycle) and a total range of 534 miles (859 km) – creating an everyday supercar.

The performance of the powertrain is matched by a new chassis system, with new two-chamber air springs paired with new dual-valve dampers, along with Bentley Dynamic Ride (48V active anti-roll control), eLSD and torque vectoring. Incredible body control and the best Continental GT ride comfort to date are the results, supported by a 49:51, rear-biased weight distribution for the first time in the car’s history.

Under the skin, a suite of modern innovative technology delivers class-leading capability so that every journey is a seamless experience in terms of driver assistance, infotainment systems and connected car services.

 
 

The new exterior continues the design revolution for Bentley’s future journey, with the biggest revision to the face of the Continental GT in two decades, and the first mainstream Bentley with single headlamps since the 1950s.

World-leading Bentley interior cabin design, materials, quality, and craftsmanship continue with the introduction of further wellness seat technology, new air ionisation, three-dimensional leather textures, new modern quilting, and technical finishes such as new dark chrome.

A completely new 400-volt electrical architecture enables the most advanced suite of powertrain technology to be offered by a luxury automotive brand today, delivering emissions of 29 g/km of CO2 and an electric range of 50 miles / 81 km on the WLTP drive cycle.

For the first time in the history of the Continental GT, the convertible Continental GTC is being launched concurrently with the coupe - providing ultimate flexibility for customers who appreciate both open topped and closed roof motoring.

Both coupe and convertible models will be crafted entirely by hand at Bentley’s Dream Factory in Crewe, England. Production and deliveries are due to begin in Q3.

 


For the new Continental GT Speed, a brand-new Ultra Performance Hybrid powertrain has been developed. The new powertrain combines a new 4.0 litre V8 engine capable of producing 600 PS (584 bhp) with a 190 PS (187 bhp) electric motor. Peak system output is 782 PS (771 bhp) – enough for a 0-60 mph sprint time of just 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 208 mph (335 km/h).

System torque is increased by over 11 per cent compared to the outgoing W12-powered Continental GT Speed, from 900 Nm = to 1000 Nm (738 lb ft). System power has also increased by 19 per cent, from 659 PS to 782 PS. This makes the new Continental GT Speed the most powerful Bentley ever, beyond the levels of the second-generation Supersports and the Batur.

The power is delivered via an eight-speed dual clutch transmission and an electronic limited slip differential (eLSD) to all four wheels, for exceptional power delivery and reliable traction in all conditions. The system uses active torque vectoring front to rear through a centre differential, and precision vectoring across each axle using the brakes.

 
 

There are three key powertrain system elements:

The new 600 PS, 800 Nm (590 lb ft) V8 engine – with no traditional vacuum system, and 350 bar fuel injection pressure (raised from 200 bar) provides cleaner combustion and improved emissions. With the e-motor negating turbo lag, twin single-scroll turbochargers have been used – which reduces complexity and allows them to run hotter, minimising emissions. Therefore, no cylinder deactivation hardware is required, as the engine can be switched off entirely when using the electric motor.

The 190 PS, 450 Nm (332 lb ft) electric motor within the transmission housing delivers torque-fill at low engine speed and does the same during gear shifts for extra smoothness.

The 25.9 kWh battery, which is mounted behind the rear axle. This helps achieve a perfect weight distribution and up to 85 per cent of the battery capacity is useable.

The system manages the energy flows dependent upon the mode chosen – with pure EV, electric boost, regenerative braking – and, most importantly for this new GT Speed – a charge mode, where the engine drives the wheels and charges the battery at the same time.

The new class-leading powertrain delivers extreme performance and sets the latest Continental GT apart from other competitors - with more horsepower, more torque and a significant drop in CO2 and fuel consumption figures to around one tenth of equivalent conventional petrol powertrains. In turn, this provides an extraordinary range of driving capability, from extreme performance to silent and effortless electric luxury. 

 


Due to the combination of the V8 engine and electric power, Bentley’s engineers have been able to deliver improved power and torque across the full rev range. This includes a vital boost from the electric motor for strong acceleration from low speeds and throughout the mid-range, combined with increased performance from the V8 engine at higher speeds too. A significant amount of development has also been invested in the exhaust note too, emphasising the cross-plane quality – and without the use of artificial, electronic enhancement. 

 


Equally impressive are the electric modes, allowing customers to enjoy silent and seamless motoring. In full electric mode, the electric motor alone can deliver 190 PS and 450 Nm, more than enough to keep up with the traffic in most situations. Full electric mode can be deployed at speeds of up to 87 mph / 140 km/h, with throttle applications of up to 75 per cent. The battery can be fully replenished in as little as 2¾ hours thanks to significant improvements in charger and battery capacity, with 11 kW peak charging power. 

 


The new Continental GT Speed and GTC Speed models both benefit from the new Bentley Performance Active Chassis. This includes Active All Wheel Drive, an electronic limited slip differential, all wheel steering, torque vectoring (front to rear and across the axles), Bentley Dynamic Ride active anti roll system, and a new generation of ESC control software. In addition, the car is fitted with a new dual valve damper system and dual chamber air springs, which enables more sophisticated tuning options. The result is that the new cars can achieve an even more impressive combination of performance, handling, and comfort.

The new twin-valve damping brings a number of benefits. The system allows increased force spread between soft and firm settings – the result is reduced compromise between road surface isolation and body control. The damper control ECU now has complete control over independent compression and rebound damping delivering better body control during compression/rebound directional changes.

 
 

Overall dynamic ability, and steering feel, have both been improved by the car’s now perfect weight distribution of 49:51, achieved thanks to the intelligent positioning of the hybrid battery. The weight split brings a car that is inherently balanced during dynamic driving, and permits a range of driving styles to be accessed. With the car’s advanced ESC system fully engaged, the new Continental GT Speed is completely planted and controls traction to inhibit oversteer. In Dynamic Mode, the car allows some rear axle slip, allowing the driver to control the cornering attitude of the car whilst maintaining a safety net to bring the car back in-line if required. The ESC system can also be completely turned off, at which point the Continental GT Speed’s cornering stance can be balanced on-throttle by the driver for the most dynamic Bentley driving experience yet.

The braking system continues to utilise Bentley’s established pair of options, both using 10-piston front calipers and four-piston rears:

Ventilated iron brakes, with 420 mm front / 380 mm rear disc

Carbon-Silicon-Carbide brakes, with 440 mm front / 410 mm rear discs

The overall customer benefit of the new chassis system is simple – comfort mode is even more comfortable, and sport mode has even better body control than before.

 


The new Continental GT Speed continues the three key design aspects seen through Bentley’s heritage since the iconic R-Type Continental of 1952.

The fourth generation follows the form of the modern two-door Bentley in that it has the stance of a resting beast – muscular but relaxed, and confident with strong, well-defined haunches indicating the power beneath the skin. The favoured image of Bentley’s designers is a tiger at rest – calm and collected, but ready to unleash incredible force.

The front of the car is inspired by the upright elegance of a thoroughbred horse – reinforcing the status of this exceptional luxury grand tourer. Finally, the ‘endless bonnet’ creates a strong horizontal line through the car indicating the high-performance engine and pure speed.

The whole car has been visually cleaned, with fewer breaks in the surfaces giving more muscularity and a more refined shape. The complete front aspect of the car is new, from the body coloured integrated body kit to the biggest change in the last two decades for the Continental GT - single front headlamps. Not since the S2 of 1959 has a mainstream, non-coachbuilt Bentley had single front lamps, but the change brings a more determined expression to the face of the GT, again inspired by the focused expression of a hunting tiger.

 
 

The headlamp features a new horizontal ‘eyebrow,’ a deep crystal cut diamond effect to the top of the lamps and an illuminated lower pattern. The matrix LED lamps contain 120 separate LEDs that are digitally controlled with differing responsibilities for low beam foreground to high beam power boost. This increases the capability of the lamp with main beam widened field of illumination and improved fade out, which gives a more gradual transition from lit to unlit areas. This makes reading the road more natural and gives a more relaxing driving experience by avoiding the perception of “black holes” in the field of vision.

The rear of the car has also been redesigned including the bumper, taillights, boot lid and exhaust tail pipes. The boot lid incorporates an integrated aerodynamic form to provide rear downforce without the need for a deployable rear spoiler, and the bumper is much more dramatically styled emphasising the width of the car, whilst being cleaner with less embellishment.

The taillights have a dramatic new appearance with a much wider graphic stretching into the boot lid. The lamps protrude out from the boot and internally they feature a deep three-dimensional diamond pattern across their form. When illuminated the tips of the diamonds accentuated creating a molten lava-like visual effect.

New 22” wheels has a strongly directional design again takes inspiration comes from the tiger – with the ‘claws’ of the wheel digging into the road. The new wheel style is offered in dark tint paint with polished accents, gloss black or silver painted.

 


The Continental family already features some of the most beautifully executed interiors in the world and showcases the pinnacle of craftsmanship from the skilled team at Bentley’s carbon neutral factory in Crewe, England.

The new grand tourer features a new precision quilt pattern taking inspiration from modern fashion design to the seats and doors. With sculptured quilting, fading perforations and a new quilt embroidery, the cabin provides the ultimate cocooning environment for any extraordinary journey.

The 20-way adjustable seats in the Continental GT have long set industry standards in comfort and refinement. New interior features include the optional Wellness seating with Postural Adjust and Auto Climate to the front seats, minimizing fatigue and providing a level of relaxation that is truly unique.

The new Dark Chrome Specification provides a more contemporary aesthetic and gives a more understated character to the cabin. This applies to door handles, switches, speak grilles and many other areas around the cabin. Bentley’s bespoke division – Mulliner - will also be offering a collection of unique features enabling further personalisation to the latest model.

A choice of three audio systems is offered in the Continental GT. The standard system features 10 speakers and 650 Watts, while a Bang & Olufsen 1,500 W, 16-speaker system with illuminated speaker grilles is aimed at lifestyle-oriented customers. A Naim 2,200 W, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and eight sound modes is offered for the true audiophile. Laminated acoustic glass is retained for the windscreen and side windows, resulting in a nine-decibel reduction in exterior noise versus non-acoustic glazing.       



The new Continental GT continues to feature the innovative Bentley Rotating Display – the three-sided display featuring a 12.3” high-definition display, three elegant analogue dials, and an unbroken side of handcrafted veneer. The three sides are selectable at the touch of a button.

Mood lighting around the cabin works the sculptural shapes of the seats and doors to create a cocooning effect, with the user able to choose the colour of the lighting from 30 options.

For the next generation of GT, new colours are being added to the already extensive palette, updating the world-class offer of virtually unlimited paint and interior trim combinations.

This includes a new modern Gravity Grey hide, also offered with a matching sophisticated metallic exterior paint that looks solid until the sunlight hits it, revealing metallic copper accents.

The new Continental GT will be launched in Tourmaline Green, a vivid and modern interpretation of the iconic Bentley green and a striking statement for any new Bentley.

 


The fourth generation Continental GT and GTC Speed benefit from the latest generation of electrical architecture, enabling a significant step forward in infotainment and driver assistance technology. This technology is the most advanced in the luxury segment, and extremely competitive for customers coming to Bentley from premium brands.

The environment display (shown in the drivers instrument panel) supports and enables driving in semi-assisted mode providing feedback to the driver how the car is responding to other vehicles. The vehicle’s understanding of the surrounding environment allows for Intelligent Park Assist – the latest generation self-parking system with speed control. The technology is not just limited to driving aspects. The air conditioning system has been revised to increase cabin wellness including air ionisers, a new particulate matter filter and displays showing air quality outside and inside the vehicle. The new convenience features will make every journey more relaxed experience and can be tailored to reflect customers personal preferences. The system also synchronises with the car’s satellite navigation, knowing when it might be necessary to improve cabin air quality (for example by recirculating the cabin air when in a tunnel).

Improvements have been made with essential features such as wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto and over-the-air map updates. Beyond these features, customers who choose to pair their mobile phone will enjoy connected car services, including:

Remote charging status, allowing monitoring and control of vehicle charging when plugged-in

Remote Park Assist – enabling the possibility for a customer to park or summon their vehicle remotely from their phone

Remote cabin pre-conditioning – ensuring the climate in the car is set before a drive starts, including seat heating

Each year further new features will be available, such as green traffic light prediction – which is increasingly activated in major cities in the US and Europe and allows a “magic carpet” drive through the city centre.

 
 

The fourth generation Continental will also benefit with the introduction of My Bentley app studio. The new My Bentley App Studio is the next addition to Bentley’s digital ecosystem for customers. Customers can gain access to a wide variety of vehicle and third-party applications which can be downloaded directly, independent of a smartphone to the infotainment system. Applications include, Music, video, gaming, navigation, parking and charging etc. The applications are seamlessly implemented in the infotainment system and can be used safely and reliably even whilst driving. The application portfolio is adapted specifically to each market.

For the first time in the Continental family’s history, the new open-top GTC is being launched at the same time as the coupe. The Convertible features Bentley’s seven-bow fabric roof system, available in a range of seven exterior colours (including tweed) and deployable in 19 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph (48 km/h).

Performance of the Continental GTC Speed is breath-taking for an open-air Grand Tourer. 0-60 mph takes 3.2 secs, with 0-100 km/h taking 3.4 secs. Top speed is electronically limited to 177 mph / 285 km/h.

 


To prove the performance of the new Continental GT Speed, Bentley set out to establish a new speed record – one not formally attempted before. The authentic sound of the cross-plane V8 exhaust note inspired the idea of running the car above 200 mph through a tunnel – and a project lasting 18 months set out to achieve exactly that.

With the incredible support of the Norwegian highways authority (Statens Vegvesen) and the Norwegian police, the Ryfylke Tunnel in Rogaland county, Norway was secured for the attempt. The Ryfylke Tunnel is the world’s longest subsea road tunnel at 8.9 miles / 14.4 km long, and the deepest tunnel of any kind in the world – descending to 292 metres below sea level.

Rounds of engineering analysis and simulation evaluated the airflow around the car at high speed in an enclosed tube to ensure safety. Then, in April, a team from Bentley and supporting suppliers headed to Norway to run the new Continental GT Speed through the tunnel, as part of the creation of a launch film for the new car. Running on renewable second-generation biofuel, and charged with electricity from fully renewable sources, the car went from a standstill to its 208 mph / 335 km/h top speed in just 33 seconds. Several runs were completed for filming, in so doing establishing a new unofficial speed record for a car in a tunnel.

More details on the Underwater Speed Record project, including a behind-the-scenes film, will be released in due course.

 


The new Continental GT Speed redefines the definitive grand tourer. With its striking modern design, powerful stance and elegant lines, the fourth generation positions the car ahead of others in comfort, beautiful artisanal craftsmanship and personal choice.

The spectacular new Ultra Performance Hybrid powertrain delivers a revolutionary blend of extreme performance and effortless electric luxury, delivering an unforgettable driving experience every time. Enhanced by the significant technology upgrades that make every journey as seamless as possible, every customer can focus on the enjoyment of the drive.

 

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