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
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?