The all-new Bentley Continental GT is here
Technology practically seeps through the millimetric panel gaps of the brand-new Bentley Continental GT, but this isnt a scientific calculator on forged 22-inch wheels, all processors and no panache. In fact, its supposed to be the most definitively perfect grand-touring machine the world has ever seen. Yes, the new Conti has a 48-volt electrical system, so active suspension can prop itself up so accurately the car doesnt know body roll. Weve seen than on the Bentayga and Audis SQ7 already, but combining that with the new Contis longer wheelbase and shoved-back engine should make this the sharpest-handling Benters outside of Le Mans. And yes, its made of super-formed aluminium thats not only 80kg lighter than the last Contis body, but can also be wrought into sharper creases and more subtle curves.Which is why, as you youll have noticed, the new Conti looks similar to the old one, but sleeker, tighter around the seams, and leaner. We could go on for weeks listing quantifiable ways the Conti has moved with the times. But thats somehow not very Bentley.And we can vouch for the sweeter proportions and prettier detailing because Top Gear was invited up to Crewe for a secret audience with the new GT not long ago, and in the metal it makes a stunning impression. Those lower, faster haunches are almost 911-ish, and the oval lights come straight from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.Speaking of speed, the bi-turbo W12 has been ramped up to develop 626bhp, and now drives all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox related to the Porsche Panameras, with which the Conti also shares its platform. Expect 0-100kph in 3.7 seconds, a top speed of 333kph, and thats in sixth gear. The top two cogs are for oozing cruising.Inside, well, wow. Bentley has re-rendered Audis Virtual Cockpit to give its own opulent dials but the same nav/media/settings capability in your eyeline, while the dash has a party piece.Bored of the pin-sharp 12.3-inch touchscreen? Itll electrically rotate, exposing a triplet of delightfully old-school temperature gauges.Short attention span? Then turn the Toblerone panel again and a veneer section turns into view, creating a minimalist sweet of perfect marquetry to complement a world of knurled metal and sumptuously quilted leather. Even the indicator stalks are bespoke, knurled jewels. And thanks to the fresh architecture and glass roof, its noticeably roomier and airier than before. The cabin was designed by Bentleys chief cabin artiste, and a gentleman with the greatest name in all of motoring\: Romulus Rost. Among his past works is the very first Audi TT cockpit, which ranks as one of the most enduring, iconic car interiors of the past 25 years. He points out Bentleys subtle deployment of real metal where the customers touchpoints lie, and tells us he voted for physical buttons rather than Panamera-style touch-sensitive glass to make the Continental more familiar and traditional to use. More stress-free. Besides, its not as if there are often many blank buttons on even the most basic of Bentleys.You can have up to 18 speakers at 2,200 Watts of music power. There are allegedly ten square metres of wood inside, and each embroidered diamond contained 712 stitches. The techs sure to be mind-blowing, but theres no substitute for attention to detail.