Even though it’s been a long time coming, was teased a few weeks ago through some clever photos, the 2011 Bentley Continental GT performance luxury coupe has been finally revealed.
Even though the changes appear to be minimal, and some may classify this as just a refresh or a minor facelift, don’t let appearances fool you. This is, in fact, an all new model, complete with a new platform, an improved engine, restyled looks, and new technologies both on the inside and in terms of safety.
“The new Continental GT is an automotive work of art, with superb craftsmanship and elegant, contemporary design. It drives like a supercar, but without the usual sacrifices in ride or practicality. It is a car that you can enjoy every moment of every day.” said Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley.
The 2011 Continental sets forth to replace one of the most successful grand tourers made by the British company, which was introduced back in 2003. It retains basically the same attributes, four seats and a versatile design, but massively improves quality and adds a few new features that were already sported by its rivals.
First off, we have the improved design. The front end has been slightly restyled, and now boasts a wider lower air inlet, a new grille and restyled headlamps with built-in LED daytime running lights. The rear was also restyled, boasting the same lines as seen on the more luxury-oriented Mulsanne.
The aerodynamics have also been improved, in order to lower the drag coefficient, and thus improve efficiency. Three wheel styles are offered, a 20-inch five-spoke, and two 21-inch Elegand and Sport split-rim designs.
On the inside, Bentley threw in a lot of new features, and retains its hand-crafted status, now with even more refined options. The dashboard and instrument panel evoke the wings emblem of Bentley, while a new center console house chrome bezelled dials.
New ‘Cobra’ seats have been fitted to the inside of the 2011 Continental, and can be equipped with ventilation or heating systems, as well as a massage function. The rear of the seats are sculpted, in order to offer more room for the two passengers that can sit in the back. Bentley insists that the new Continental will be the most comfortable 2+2 Grand Tourer on the market.
The driver will be able to use a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with a brand new navigation system, Google Maps functionality and a Balanced Mode Radiator speaker technology. 30GB of storage are also available, in order to store music and map data for the navigation. An 11-speaker sound system is standard, with the aforementioned Balanced Mode Raditor and Bluetooth, iPod and memory card capabilities.
At the heart of the 2011 Bentley Continental GT sits an improved version of the 6.0-liter W12 engine. The power has now been raised to 567 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque. It is equipped with a Quickshift transmission that, if need be, can even enable double downshifts. The engine of the regular GT is now FlexFuel capable, like the Continental SuperSports, meaning it can run on any mixture of gasoline and E85 ethanol.
Eco-conscious luxury fans will be thrilled to hear that, as of late 2011, a special V8 engine will be available for order. According to Bentley, it will reduce emissions by 40%, in comparison with the W12, but continue to offer adequate amounts of power for a model like the Continental GT.
Both engines will be sending their power to an all-wheel drive system, which in turn splits it in a 40/60 rear bias, for a sportier feel.
Expect the 2011 Bentley Continental GT to make its public debut at the end of the month at the Paris Motor Show. It will go on sale, worldwide, at the end of the year.