Bentley Motors has revealed its new faster and lighter Continental GT, ahead of a public debut at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.
Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain, the new third-generation Continental GT combines spirited, focused performance with handcrafted luxury and cutting-edge technology.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, said: “Bentley has been at the forefront of luxury Grand Touring for nearly one hundred years. The new, third-generation Continental GT is the pinnacle of our design and engineering achievements and marks the next step in Bentley’s journey.
“We are the world leader in luxury mobility and our products and services define new luxury in the automotive world. The new Continental GT encapsulates our desire to innovate as well as celebrate our heritage and take the Bentley ownership experience to the next, unparalleled level.”
At the heart of the new Continental GT sits an all-new, enhanced version of Bentley’s renowned 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 TSI engine, mated, for the first time, to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission, for faster, more efficient gear changes.
A new, technically advanced, adaptive chassis uses Bentley’s intelligent 48-volt Dynamic Ride System to ensure a responsive ride and exceptional handling and refinement in all road conditions. The new system controls ride comfort and lateral roll, cushioning passengers from excessive movement as well as making the car feel effortlessly precise.
The muscular exterior design, created using revolutionary technology, results in a lightweight, yet stiff, body. The engine is positioned further back to improve weight distribution, resulting in driver-focused, dynamic performance.
Offering four seats and improved luggage capacity for genuine real-world usability, the new Bentley Continental GT’s luxurious cabin is packed with exquisite details such as a new ‘diamond in diamond’ leather design. In addition, significant work has gone into harmonising the extensive portfolio of 15 colours across hides and carpets.
The new Continental GT also showcases major evolutions in Bentley’s unique application of technology. An advanced, fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel and Bentley Rotating Display for the driver are among the suite of innovations. The latter features an impressive 12.3” touchscreen housed in a three-sided unit, which revolves the veneer to reveal the touchscreen as well as three elegant analogue dials.
The interior design of the Continental GT is tailored specifically to the modern luxury customer, with unrivalled attention to detail that creates an effortless ownership experience. The cabin seamlessly integrates cutting-edge onboard technology with the finest handcrafted natural materials. The result is an exquisite, harmonised, connected and luxurious space.
The new Continental GT will make its global debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show which runs from September 12 to 24, 2017.
The Continental GT’s new body is 80 kg lighter than the previous Continental W12. Its aluminium skin has been crafted using super formed technology, to invoke more complex, sharply defined body lines and a deeper, sculpted haunch muscle.
The car’s profile is longer and lower due to the positioning of the front wheels further forward, which in turn allows the bonnet to be extended and the nose to be lowered. The rear of the car is a radical styling departure, with the taillights now shaped into ellipses, reflecting the silhouette of the exhaust tail pipes below them.
The lighting on the Continental GT uses LED Matrix technology, but it is the design of the head lamps that truly sets them apart. Inspired by the finest cut-crystal glasses, the internal surfaces are transparent with sharply defined edges that catch the light like a diamond.
The taillights also feature the cut-crystal effect, highlighting the three-dimensional depth of the optics.
The new Continental GT has 21-inch wheels as standard, with two styles available. A 22-inch lightweight, forged wheel is also offered, alongside a hand-finished option, which allows for a twisted polished finish.
THE FINEST HANDCRAFTED CABIN
The interior of the new car showcases Bentley’s expertise in the use of materials, from the highest-quality natural leathers, to rare, sustainably sourced veneers – including Koa, Bentley’s newest veneer – and hand-polished chrome details. For the first time, dual-veneer options are offered.
The dashboard of the car is sculpted by long, flowing wings that mirror the shape of the Bentley badge. A floating leather top flows seamlessly to the doors.
The centre console is finished to match the lower fascia, but can be specified in a new technical finish that is inspired by the delicate mechanical surfacing inside the finest automatic Swiss watches, known as Côtes de Genève. This surface – a first in the automotive world – is machined onto 0.6 mm-thick aluminium and is created by machining from side to side to create a linear pattern.
New types of luxurious haptic finishes adorn the interior of the car. In some areas, pillow knurling replaces the traditional mechanical knurling, for a softer, more refined feel on switches and controls, while diamond knurling adds a luxurious touch using a detailed three-dimensional faceted surface.
Bronze inserts between surfaces on the primary controls add a level of fine detailing.
The 20-way adjustable seats in the car set new standards in comfort and refinement, says Bentley.
A new ‘diamond in diamond’ quilt features both stitching and embroidery. The inner diamonds are embroidered, using a specially-designed machine that balances high speed with quality. Eighteen months were spent developing the embroidery, individually optimising and programming the exact alignment of each one of the 712 stitches that make up each diamond shape – an unrivalled attention to detail.
A choice of three audio systems is offered. The standard system features 10 speakers and 650 W, while a Bang & Olufsen 1,500 W, 16-speaker system with illuminated speaker grilles is aimed at lifestyle-oriented customers.
A Naim 2,200 W, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and eight sound modes is offered for audiophiles.
Laminated acoustic glass for the windscreen and side windows results in a nine-decibel reduction in exterior noise ingress versus the outgoing model.
Behind the wheel, the technological advancements are striking. The driver-orientated instrument panel is now fully digital and configurable. While the main dials appear to be real, they are in fact digital graphics designed to look three-dimensional. This display can show information from across the infotainment system including satellite-navigation information.
The Continental GT features an innovative rotating display. At first glance there appears to be no screen in the centre of the dashboard. Instead, the veneer flows uninterrupted across the dashboard, while a thin chrome bezel behind the steering wheel surrounds a digital instrument display.
When the engine start button is pressed, however, the veneer in the middle of the dashboard glides silently forward and rotates to reveal Bentley’s largest-ever touchscreen, a 12.3-inch retina-quality digital MMI display with a customer-configurable home screen with three windows able to display the driver’s preferred functions, for example, navigation, media and telephone.
The user interface is designed to be akin to a modern mobile phone and menus are structured to be instantly intuitive.
The third side on the rotating display reveals three elegant analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass and chronometer. Such an innovative use of traditional elements underscores Bentley’s unique commitment to the past and the future, and offers customers the choice of digital or analogue display or clean, calm cabin.
The new Continental benefits from features designed to keep both driver and passengers connected at all times. Apple CarPlay, the smartest and quickest way to integrate the functionality of Apple devices in a car is connected via a USB port.
Google point of interest search makes finding unusual destinations simple, while real time traffic information keeps the driver informed of current length or changes in congestion. In emergency situations, Private eCall provides instant access to emergency services.
The new Continental GT is offered at launch with an enhanced version of Bentley’s 6.0-litre, W12 TSI engine that sets a new benchmark in performance.
The new powertrain produces 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, and accelerates the car to 100 kmph in 3.7 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds), and on to a top speed of 333 kmph (207 mph).
The new engine utilises Start-Stop technology and, in Bentley’s advanced application, coasting is also made possible. The engine rests not only when the vehicle is stationary but also at near-to-stop speeds.
A Variable Displacement system shuts down half of the engine under defined conditions. Intake and exhaust valves, fuel injection and ignition are all shut down on defined cylinders, with the engine running as a six-cylinder for improved efficiency.
Significantly, a new dual-mass flywheel replaces the torque converter, to dampen out the oscillations of the driveline and provide a fittingly smooth power delivery for luxury touring.
The dual-clutch eight-speed transmission provides smooth acceleration, and impressively quick gearshifts.
A new Active All-Wheel-Drive System replaces the traditional 40:60 power delivery split between front and rear wheels respectively, instead varying the front-to-rear torque split dependent upon the driving situation. The vehicle will use rear-wheel drive as much as possible during normal driving for optimum performance.
The third generation of Continental GT features Bentley Dynamic Ride, an advanced 48-volt roll control system for unrivalled car control.
Through Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Control different modes can be selected: Comfort mode, Bentley mode or Sport mode. Alternatively, the driver can personalise his or her own dynamic settings.
The air suspension on the new car is revised and uses three-chamber air springs which give the car 60 per cent more air volume in the softest setting than the previous model.
The introduction of Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) allows the Continental GT to be offered with a wide range of driver assistance features including Active Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Park Assist.
Paint, leather, veneer and lifestyle options can be tailored to the individual.
The standard palette alone comprises 17 exterior colours, with up to 70 hues available in the extended range. There are also 15 carpet options, eight different handcrafted veneers (with a further four dual-veneer options) and 15 choices of interior trim.
Two technology option packs are offered at launch: City Specification for urban journeys and the Touring Specification for long-distance driving.
The Mulliner Driving Specification adds a more sporting look to the car with 22-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels, ‘diamond in diamond’ quilting, embroidered Bentley emblems, additional veneer options, a jewelled-finish fuel filler, sports pedals and indented leather headliner.
As with all Bentleys, the Continental GT can also be handed over to the highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople at Mulliner, Bentley’s personal commissioning division, who will respond to bespoke customer requirements.
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