2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed review

By: David Berthon

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2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed

There's something of the night about Crewe's missle...

2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed review
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed

 

2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed

As the most powerful model in Bentley’s performance portfolio, the Continental Speed GT Coupe has some big boots to fill. It doesn’t duck that responsibility either, its name harking back to founder W.O. Bentley’s three-litre Speed model of 1925 and the Le Mans 24 Hour race-winning Speed Six of 1930.

To go with what Bentley suggests is a "darker side to the marque’s character" the GT Speed gains a number of styling elements in a darker tint to distinguish it from the standard Continental GT.

High performance tweaks from the company’s Mulliner division include a lower front splitter, a rear diffuser and black carbon fibre for the side sill extensions. There’s the option of full carbon fibre door mirror cowls, a subtle rear spoiler and black 21-inch alloy wheels.

Sitting 10mm lower than the standard Coupe, the GT Speed looks somewhat menacing standing still with a dark tinted chrome finish highlighting the matrix grille and air intakes. Internally, the Speed is defined by diamond quilted leather seats with embroidered winged ‘B’ emblems on the headrests, indented leather headlining, drilled alloy pedals and a sports gear lever with a knurled finish.

Around town, the Speed’s styling elements are more show than go but on the open road its added grunt and sharpness are immediately noticeable. The already-barnstorming power of the 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 has been swollen by 44kW out to 467kW, while the torque is uprated to a mighty 820Nm, achieved over a broad plateau from 1,700 to 4,000 rpm. The enormous power delivery doesn’t snap your head back: under hard acceleration it’s the sheer relentlessness of delivery, a continuous surge over a wide torque band, that impresses most.

The lighter V8 engine might be the enthusiast’s choice, but there’s a muscularity and authenticity to the W12. It’s not hushed into silence at the top end either, delivering a distinct howl all of its own. Despite a kerb weight topping 2320kg, it propels this brutish Brit to 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds.

Like the standard GT, the weight balance fore and aft is skewed 60/40 and a tendency to push understeer under hard cornering is negated to an extent by the clever torque delivery electronics of the all-wheel-drive system. The Speed also benefits from stiffer springs, rear anti-roll bars and suspension bushes and a slightly more aggressive front camber angle. Turn-in at speed is noticeably sharper than the standard car.

The optional ceramic brake package on the test car showed no signs of fade under a continuous hard pedal despite a tortuous and twisting test circuit, and for the performance driver, perhaps justify their substantial $29,000 extra cost. The ZF eight-speed transmission is typically faultless and contact with the tarmac is via 275 x 35-series Z rated tyres which provide a surprisingly compliant ride despite what look like some hefty unsprung masses.

At $450,000 in coupe form and $495,000 in convertible guise, the Continental GT Speed more than lives up to the legacy of its illustrious badge.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed


Engine: 5998 W12 twin turbo
Power: 467kW @6,000rpm
Torque: 820Nm@1,700rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, 4WD
Suspension: four link, anti-roll bar, air-sprung (f); trapezoidal multi-link, anti-roll bar, air-sprung (r)
Brakes: vented iron discs (f/r),ABS,MSP
Weight: 2,320kg (kerb)
0-100km/h: 4.2sec
Top speed: 332km/h
Price: $450,000 (plus on-road costs)

 

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