The Bentley Continental GT is a grand tourer coupé with two doors and a 2+2 seating arrangement, released in 2003, replacing the previous Rolls-Royce-based Continental R and T.
It is equipped with a 6.0L, twin-turbocharged W12 engine, producing 552 hp (412 kW), with a top speed of 195 mph (314 km/h). The car is designed by Belgian designer, Dirk van Braeckel. The Continental GT is built on the Volkswagen Group D1 platform. Largely, it could be considered a rebadged Volkswagen Phaeton, with a different styling and a more powerful engine, most of the technical components being identical to those on the Phaeton.
The four-door Continental Flying Spur saloon was first displayed at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. The Flying Spur utilizes the most of the technical underpinnings of the Bentley Continental GT, and was introduced to European and American markets in the summer of 2005. Together, the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur have boosted Bentley's annual production from around 1,000 units in 2003 to 9,200 units in 2006.
One notable aspect of the Continental Flying Spur is its grille. Made to look like traditional chromed brass mesh, it is actually made of plastic. The plastic grille was fitted as a safety feature; it is designed to break apart upon impact with a pedestrian.
The Flying Spur is currently the second fastest production four-door saloon with a top-speed of 312 km/h (194 mph). It was surpassed by the Brabus Rocket (Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class with 720bhp) and Bullitt (Mercedes-Benz C-Class with 720bhp), which have top speeds of 227(mph).
The convertible version of the Continental GT, the Continental GTC, was first presented in September 2005, and was introduced to several world markets in the fall of 2006. With the second generation Azure, it is the second Bentley convertible released in 2005. The roof is produced by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany.
Continental GT Speed
On August 1, 2007, Bentley released details of a more powerful GT. Power is increased to 603 bhp/449kW (610 PS), with a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. The Continental's weight is also reduced by 35 kg (77 lb). Minor exterior changes include a tinted front grille and larger exhaust pipes. The price for this model is £137,000. The Continental GT Speed is the first production Bentley officially capable of reaching 202 mph (325 km/h).
In early 2007, a Bentley Continental GT Speed driven by four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen broke the world speed record on ice on the frozen Baltic sea near Oulu, Finland. It averaged 321.6km/h (199.86 mph) in both directions on the "flying kilometer", reaching a maximum speed of 331 km/h (207 mph). The previous record was 296 km/h (184 mph), achieved with a Bugatti EB110 Supersport.
The record-breaking Bentley was largely standard except for a roll-cage, aerodynamic improvements, and low-temperature fuel and calibration.