2004 Bentley Continental GT

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Short Take Road Test: 2008 Bentley Continental GT Speed

This 2008 review is representative of model years 2003 to 2010.
By Aaron Robinson of Car and Driver
Pros:
  • Truth in the name
  • Prestige par excellence
  • Usable daily
  • Gorgeous
Cons:
  • Mega price
  • Cramped back seats
  • Tahoe tonnage

Bentley isn’t being subtle with the 2008 Bentley Continental GT Speed. It’s right there in the name, what the $24,000 surcharge mainly buys over the taxi-package $182,285 Continental GT.

Haste. Rapidity. Precipitousness. With another 48 horsepower extracted from the twin-turbo W-12 to make 600 net, and another 74 pound-feet of torque making 553 net, and a 60-mph time of four seconds flat, they should have called it the Continental GT Whupass.

Ah, but perhaps that doesn’t quite fit a Bentley’s mission to support la vie élégante. Already stunningly gorgeous with an imperious road presence and lavishly beleathered interior (diamond-quilted and pumpkin-colored to someone’s uncommon taste in our tester), the Continental needs more power like a whale needs white Nikes.

Still, an exotic is defined by its rarer qualities, and it’s not often—well, never—that a 5180-pound car can smash a quarter-mile in 12.5 seconds at 114 mph, or run a claimed 202 mph (we ran out of road at 175), or stop from 70 mph in 162 feet with its $16,500 optional carbon-ceramic brakes, or circle a skidpad generating 0.94 g.

The Speed’s air intakes are wider and the black chrome grille more upright. Sporting gentlemen are enticed by a lowered suspension on stiffer springs and anti-roll bars (the four button-adjusted shock settings are enough to calm road bouncing). Fine-slotted 20-inchers wear Pirelli P Zeros, and the steering is retuned for quicker response.

A less muffled rumble in the pipes and some tire thrum reconnect Bentley owners with their machinery, but the Speed amazes for what it doesn’t do: squeal through a tight hairpin when thrown in like a Lotus Elise, fade its brakes when pounded on a track like a Porsche, let wind deflect its awesome straight-line charges (acceleration is still enthralling from 100 to 150), or otherwise heed the laws of physics.

The Bentley Continental GT Master-Butt-Kicking MoFo. No?

Performance Data:

C/DTEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 9.8 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 17.0 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 4.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.5 sec @ 114 mph
Top speed (mfr’s claim, redline ltd): 202 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 162 ft
Roadholding, 200-ft-dia skidpad: 0.94 g

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city driving: 10 mpg
C/D observed: 15 mpg

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BB02 - 7/25/2014 4:32:04 PM