The Bentley Continental GT is classified as a grand tourer and is manufactured by the British carmaker Bentley Motors. Production of this vehicle started in 2003 and it was the first one to be released by Bentley with the Volkswagen AG management team after they acquired the company in 1998. This is also the first Bentley to use mass production manufacturing techniques with its vehicles. The Continental GT uses the same platform as the Volkswagen Phaeton and was responsible for making the company an international brand name in the auto industry.
The Continental GT was first introduced to the public in 2003 at the Geneva Motor Show and then at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2003 and the annual Bentley Drivers Club meeting at Silverstone later that same year. This car differs from previous Continental models with regards to its overall concept. While it is true that a majority of this vehicle is hand assembled, it is still mass produced in large quantities and is not a coachbuilt car. This vehicle uses a 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine which is capable of producing 560 metric horsepower at 6,100 rpm and a torque of 650 newton meters. The Torsen-based permanent 4-wheel drive comes standard on this vehicle and is able to accelerate from o 100 kilometers or 0-62.1 mph in just 4.8 seconds.
There were some significant updates made to the Continental GT with the 2005 model, including voice activation for the in-car telephone with a total of six different languages, increased interior trim with Magnolia hide, and carpets and seatbelts that matched to the main or secondary hide color. Some of the specifications of this vehicle include 20” 7-spoke alloy sports wheels with bespoke Advan Sport 275/35 R20 tires, drilled alloy sports foot pedals and footrest, diamond-quilted hide to facings, and two-tone leather and veneer combinations.
Another 4-door version of the Continental GT called the Flying Spur went on display for the public to see in 2005 at the Geneva Motor Show. This vehicle uses many of the same technical underpinnings as the original Bentley Continental GT and went on sale in both European and North American markets in the summer of 2005. These two vehicles have been responsible for boosting Bentley’s annual production from just 1,000 units to 9,200 units in a matter of three years (2003-2006).
The Continental GT Diamond Series was launched in 2006 as the 2007 model and only 400 of these vehicles were ever produced. This vehicle was initially designed and manufactured to celebrate Crewe factory’s 60th anniversary and features carbon-silicon carbide brakes as well as exclusive 9JX20 inch 14-spoke allow wheels and three different body colors, including bright blue, grey black, and steel blue grey. The convertible version of the Continental GT, also known as the Continental GTC, was initially displayed for the public to see in September of 2005 and went on sale in numerous markets. The roof of this convertible was produced by Karmann Osnabruck, Germany.
There were certain changes that were made to the Continental GT in 2008, including a significant reduction in kerb weight which was due to the optimization of the suspension as well as various cooling system components. This vehicle features an improved brake feel with its optional fade-resistant carbon ceramic brakes. One of the more recent incarnations of this vehicle, called the Continental GT Le Mans Edition, came out in 2013 with a total of 48 units produced. This vehicle was available as a GT W12 coupe and convertible and a GT Speed coupe version for the North American market. Overall, the Continental GT has experienced a great deal of success and continues to introduce new and exciting innovations.