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Bentley Continental overall verdict
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The Bentley Continental is a fast, pretty, modern, semi-affordable Bentley. There’s nothing old-school about it, which means it’s lost some of the grandfather clock traditional charm of the Arnage.
Wonderful car for the everyday grind, the Conti. Excellent damping and switchable suspension settings mean you can float about in splendid isolation. The Flying Spur is the one to go for if you want passenger comfort though; the GT has tiny rear seats. The drop-top GTC is as comfy as the Coupe.
Don't be fooled by the slightly porky exterior; the Continental can shift with the best of them. Under the bonnet there's a 6.0-litre ‘W12' layout motor with 411Kw (449Kw in the ‘Speed' derivative) which gives 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds and over 305km/h top end. If you're looking to really raise the roof you need the GT Speed - that'll get to 100 in just 4.3 seconds and crest the 320km/h mark.
The GTC is a superbly resolved convertible, but a bit too flash. If you have to have one, then the ‘Speed' gets respect for having the world's largest production-car brakes. Then it's cool.
Superbly built, with just enough trad Bentley-ness to make them loveable.
Four-wheel drive (virtually the same system as in the VW Phaeton) and a decent paddle-override auto make the GT an indecently rapid point-to-point Bentley, but there's not the satisfaction that comes with RWD. It's taut, composed and better engineered than any Bentley to date, with even the more-door Flying Spur and the GTC convertible doing the business. Trouble is that makes it faster, but not necessarily more fun.
Flying Spur is the one for super-practical because it has extra doors and a big boot. But both the GT and the GTC are surprising for their everydayness - just don't rely on rear seat accommodation too hard and be prepared to learn how to parallel park it.
The cheapest Bentley to run, though it's worth remembering that it is a Bentley. Suprising 16.6L/100km, though the Flying Spur does much more for some reason. Huge insurance, good residuals.