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New Bentley Continental GT Unveiled with 771 BHP

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New Bentley Continental GT Unveiled with 771 BHP

New Bentley Continental GT

Armed with a plug-in hybrid V8 drivetrain, Bentley’s new two-door coupe and convertible evolve the GT formula with new tech, styling and chassis upgrades. Ken Pearson explores.

It’s only fitting that the announcements of Bentley and Bugatti’s newest models have come within days of each other, owing to Ettore Bugatti’s infamous quip where he said Bentley make “The fastest trucks in the world.” It seems that W. O. Bentley took no notice of Bugatti’s jibe in the early 20th century, continuing to make powerful and luxurious cars that combined high performance with high levels of pampering. 

Their renaissance really began in 2003, fresh off the back of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans and with the launch of the Continental GT. This has been the model most closely associated with the “reborn” Bentley under VW ownership and through three generations it has been the first car people think of when the brand is mentioned. Entering its fourth generation, the new Continental GT coupé and GTC convertible look set to continue the legacy, although one key part of the recipe has been altered to move with the times: the powertrain.

New Bentley Continental GT and GTC - V8 hybrid powertrain & performance

The new 2024 Continental GT follows the Bentayga in offering a plug-in hybrid option. Unlike the large SUV, the petrol-electric drivetrain sits at the top of the line up and replaces the 6.0 litre W12 engine that had been available for the last 21 years. As such, the new hybrid model carries the name reserved for the fastest cars from Crewe: Speed. The new Continental GT coupé lives up to its name with a top speed of 208 mph, while the GTC convertible is limited to 177 mph. The outright pace comes courtesy of the 771 bhp and 737 lb ft (1,000 Nm) combined output from the V8 and electric motor, making it the most powerful road going Bentley ever made. 584 bhp and 590 lb ft (800 Nm) comes from the 4.0 litre twin turbo V8, while 187 bhp and 332 lb ft (450 Nm) is available from the electric motor that sits between the engine and the 8-speed automatic transmission. 

The electric motor is hooked up to a 22 kWh battery that can return up to 50 miles of electric running. It can be recharged in 2 hours and 45 minutes at 11 kW from an AC public charger or closer to three and a half hours on a home wallbox by my calculations. With the electric range on offer, I can see a lot of commutes being completed without firing up the engine at all. You’ll want to though, as special attention has been paid to it to ensure that it sings through the exhaust pipes delivering a real cross-plane V8 sound, without the need for artificial or electronic enhancement. Good.

The engine can also be used to recharge the battery on the move - at the cost of fuel consumption, of course - but the way you’ll want to use both aspects of the powertrain is together. Performance plug-in hybrids offer the best of both worlds in my opinion, with strong initial acceleration coming from the e-motor before the high rpm power of the engine makes its way to the red line. The electric motor effectively negates turbo lag, allowing for Bentley to use a pair of single-scroll turbochargers. When changing gears, the motor comes into play once again, torque filling to provide smoother shifts and maintain rapid acceleration when your foot is pressed into the carpet. Having experienced a V8 plug-in hybrid powertrain in the new Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance, I’m expecting the new Bentley to feel relentless from standstill to its top speed, which will only take 33 seconds to reach.


New Bentley Continental GT

New Bentley Continental GT - Chassis technology

What speeds up must slow down, so the new Continental GT Speed makes use of regenerative braking and some monumental discs. As standard, iron brakes are 420 mm in diameter at the front and 380 at the rear, but carbon brakes can be optioned that increase the sizes to 440 mm and 410 mm. Regardless of the material, 10-piston callipers are used at the front with 4-piston callipers at the rear. The brakes that sit behind the 22” wheels are just the tip of the chassis iceberg, with an electronic limited slip differential, all-wheel steering, intelligent torque vectoring, active anti-roll stabilisation and all-wheel drive all featuring under the skin of the new model. 

Dual-valve air suspension is standard and this has been tuned to provide greater comfort when using the Continental GT as a continent-crossing grand tourer, but also to provide greater body control when the roads turn twisty. With the battery being positioned behind the rear axle, the weight distribution of 49/51 is almost perfect and allows the car to be “completely planted” with its new stability control system completely on. There is a Dynamic setting to allow for some slip from the rear, and an option to turn it off completely. Personally, I like the sensation of cornering on rails with limitless grip but it is good to have the option to remove any electronic interference if you find yourself on a circuit.

New Bentley Continental GT - Interior craftsmanship

New Bentley Continental GT interior dashboard
New Bentley Continental GTC cabin

Performance has always gone hand in hand with luxury in the Continental GT, and the fourth generation model continues this theme. The high quality touches make themselves apparent before accessing the cabin, with laminated acoustic glass for the windscreen and side windows to maximise refinement, along with a new projector in the doors that sends a coloured Bentley logo onto the ground below. Naturally, the doors are soft-closing too. The interior itself oozes class, with a clean but functional and fantastically detailed design.

Knurled dials feature on the indicator and wiper stalks, while the volume and infotainment wheels, air conditioning dials and the drive mode selector all feature a diamond-patterned rim. Yes, a cast metal switch would do the job in all cases, but a knurled and textured dial just feels lovely. Likewise, the air vents shun the use of rubber wheels to adjust the airflow in favour of organ stop-style rods. The infotainment has been freshly updated and promises to be quicker than before, but the central 12.3” display can be rotated out of the way at the touch of a button to be replaced with a trim panel or a trio of analogue dials. These will go very nicely with the analogue clock that sits between the central air vents.


New Bentley Continental GT carbon fibre dashboard
New Bentley Continental GT rear seats

If you don’t like quilted leather, you’ve come to the wrong place; it features on the seats and the door cards where it takes on a textured 3D effect. Three sound systems are available, with the top-rung offering from Naim adding speakers in the front seats. This sounds like an unnecessary gimmick but I’ve tried similar systems before and they’re great. I do think that a high-powered, branded sound system should be standard equipment in a car of this calibre though. The cabins of both the coupé and cabriolet offer space for four people and a lot of room for customisation, with countless colour options for the seats, contrasting elements, stitching and two themes for the interior metalwork: bright or dark. For the convertible, the fabric roof can be specified in seven exterior colours, including tweed.


New Bentley Continental GT and GTC - Batur-inspired styling
New Bentley Continental GT new headlights batur
New Bentley Continental GT rear three quarter

The multi-layer roof can raise or lower in just 19 seconds and be done on the move at speeds of up to 30 mph. The GTC looks best with the roof down in my opinion, but both the convertible and coupé have enjoyed a raft of styling tweaks to mark the generational shift. There’s a lot of influence from the Bacalar and Batur to be found on the outside, with the large grille being flanked by two headlights as opposed to four. The clusters feature three main projectors each, with a straight running light extending from the round lens out towards the front wheel arch. Likewise, the rear lights have been redesigned and now take on a teardrop shape. At both ends, illuminated Y-shaped detailing can be found within the lights.

New bumper designs are sure to catch the eye, with a large lower grille and triangular outer inlets at the front, while the rear is dominated by two wide exhaust tips that sit either side of a new 5-strake diffuser. The active rear spoiler has been removed, offering a much cleaner shape on the rear deck with a very subtle ducktail to be found on the boot lid itself. On each side, a Speed badge is proudly carried and nicely compliments the one found on the dashboard. The new lower sills will take a keen eye to spot, but the standout feature of the design has to be the creased shoulder and hip lines that accentuate the wheel arches, and make the signature Bentley side profile that bit more pronounced. 


New Bentley Continental GT alloys

Both inside and out, the changes to the design are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but it will be impossible to mistake the new Continental for anything other than a Bentley. The car looks imposing in the photos and I know it will have some serious road presence when deliveries begin in early 2025. The new Bentley Continental GT and GTC Speed are available to order now, with a limited-run First Edition model adding commemorative trim elements and additional standard equipment. Prices are nowhere to be seen, but we can expect the new model to start at over £200,000 with optional equipment and customisations raising the price further. 

With the fourth generation model launching in range-topping Speed specification, it’ll be interesting to see what variants come next to serve as “entry level” versions, if we can call them that. A return of the V8 S variant without the plug-in hybrid powertrain seems likely, but with Bentley committed to electrified drives before fully electric models take over in the next decade, I wouldn’t expect such a model to stick around for very long. Regardless, the Speed kicks off the fourth generation of the Continental GT and GTC in emphatic fashion, presenting an evolution of the styling and powertrain, but delivering the performance and luxury that the model has made Bentley famous for in the 21st century.

Specifications: New Bentley Continental GT Speed/ GTC Speed

Powertrain: Petrol plug-in hybrid

Engine: 4.0 litre biturbo V8

Engine output: 584 bhp, 590 lb ft (800 Nm)

E-motor output: 197 bhp, 332 lb ft (450 Nm)

Combined output: 771 bhp, 737 lb ft (1,000 Nm)

Battery size: 22 kWh (usable)

11 kW recharge time: 2 hours 45 minutes

0 - 60 mph: 3.1 seconds / 3.4 seconds

Top speed: 208 mph / 177 mph (limited)

0 - top speed: 33 seconds (coupé)

On sale: Now

Deliveries from: Early 2025


New Bentley Continental GTC
New Bentley Continental GTC
New Bentley Continental GTC
New Bentley Continental GTC

Written by

Ken Pearson

Published

14 June 2024

Last Updated

14/06/24

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