2018 Bentley Continental GT Review

Bentley just jumped several generations ahead of its previous long-running GT

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below now to watch my 2018 Bentley Continental GT Review

This is the new 2018 Bentley Continental GT  – and this time it really is all-new. They say it’s the third generation, but I’ll call it the second gen because truthfully the 2011 version was just an update. Ths new car replaces one that’s fundamentally been around since 2003 and was based on the Volkswagen Phaeton.

And you know it could never really totally shake off that VW DNA. Despite being way better than it should have been, it was somehow never quite as sensational as it could have been. I always admired the car, but never really lusted after it. Although I got close to falling in love with the V8S version as it was dynamically ahead of its siblings.

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This all-new car is based on the Panamera. Oh woe is me! I feel about the new Porsche luxo-barge as I felt about that previous Conti GT, impressive but don’t want one. Actually scratch that, I feel even less towards it than I did the British Bruiser.

So that’s a troubling start. But the new Conti GT is lighter, wider and still has that magnificent W12 power plant in the front. The 6.0 twin-turbo puts out 626bhp, 664lb ft of torque, will reach 333kph, whilst dispatching the 100kph marker in just 3.7 seconds from starting off.

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Stop there. Forget your facts and figures. Just stand back for a minute and drink this thing in. Yes it has a comfortable familiarity about it. But it feels lower (despite being about the same height), sleeker, more elegant, fresher and… and… I love it.

Just look at those amazingly intricate cut-crystal glass headlights, you could just dive into them – trippy! The side motifs are splendid and the beautifully pert rear genuinely incorporates the ovoid taillight treatment now, rather than just tolerating it as it appeared to before.

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It’s gorgeous, with great presence, it resonates with class and drips with desire. And as for the convertible version they’ve just revealed I have to bite my fist and cry tears of want.

I haven’t even got to the best bit about the new car yet either. The interior! Yes some say it’s a little overstyled, those some are idiots. The old car was getting flat and dated with laughable infotainment and instrumentation. Plus it evoked a constant temptation to play ‘spot-the-VW-bits’.

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The new one is a bejewelled avalanche of exquisite craftsmanship that relegated restraint to passé and went all out to create a feast of visual and tactile delight. You could spend hours just sitting in this car and indulging you knurled aluminium fetishes without turning a wheel and this car would be worth the asking money.

But turn a wheel we must and all trepidation of a crushing disappointment are blasted out the back of those significant tailpipes with a roar and burble as this thing lunges at the horizon and doesn’t give up before you do. Okay but what about the old nose-heavy tendencies? The on-stilts handling balance that would leave my nerves a jangling whilst wrestling a million-dirham motor through esses?

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Gone and gone. Alright, alright, we’re not quite talking 812 Superfast levels of response and agility – at least not that I recall unless we do a back to back with the two cars, now wouldn’t THAT be a special day out? But it’s tighter and more encouraging than it’s ever been – I can’t wait to see how the V8S version (and surely there will be one) will drive.

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Okay enough. Simple verdict, straightforward conclusion. I love this car. And I already know I’ll love the convertible even more. And probably the V8 more again. It’s late in arriving, but this SECOND (sic) generation Conti GT has made up for lost time by jumping ahead several generations.

The greatest British Bruiser is back on form, and more desirable than ever. I don’t just admired it anymore. I want one.

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