Bentley Continental GT Review

Posted on 20. Oct, 2004 by in Auto News

Once upon a time, a car identity was buried deep in his DNA. In these days of multinational parts and cross-platform use, brands are born in a marketing message, then programmed on a computer chip. Even the most demanding car hack struggling to say where one ends and begins a Mercedes SLK Chrysler Crossfire. All this begs the question: Is the Bentley Continental GT, the company killed the first completely new model since Archduke Ferdinand was-sorry, Volkswagen bought the company a "real" Bentley?

Hell if I know. The GT was my first encounter with the Bentley brand. But I tell you: you are strolling on the highway in a Continental GT, doing nothing more strenuous than to hear right wing radio, look at the speedo and see 120 on the clock, no problem. If "GT" stands for "Grand Touring", no car makes it better.

Except maybe a VW Phaeton. As one of the few people who is driven Vee Dub commercially questionable flagship features a W12 engine, I can report that the common engine charm accounts for much of the Bentley. Tread lightly on the go-pedal and both cars through the town as happy as a newly elected mayor stroll. Mash the gas, and both machines deep into triple-digit speeds possessed a very difficult thing.

Of course, the twin-turbo, 552-horse Bentley is significantly faster than his sister under the skin. The blown Bentley will scoot to 60 in 4.7 seconds and on to a V-Max, I'm not kidding, 198 mph. But the fundamental nature of the GT as it stacks on the speed in a single, seamless-lung is the same, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Actually, there is. The world's most compact 12-cylinder engine produces acoustic Prozac. Despite Bentley attempts to agree to the engine sound of the brand sporting ambitions, offering the GT engine all sonic sex appeal pixilated one race car from a '70 's arcade game. It is at idle, according to according to under load and … that's it. Given the company's long tradition of filling big-block V8 baritone into the engine compartment, the variable decibel drone is a big disappointment.

In the corners, the GT is fast and … that's it. Long thanks to Audi all-wheel drive system, the Baby Bentley dispatches sweepers with mindless ease. But, as you would expect, the 5250-pound two-door flung into a sharp corner is a small relaxing pursuit. If nothing else makes the GT fingertip steering light first turned in and mid-corner balance is a delicate one. Anyway, why bother? The Bentley is beat up a bit like a Lotus Elise is long car rides suitable.

Oh, and it may seem churlish to mention it, but the Continental GT eats gas like an alcoholic aristocrat quaffing Dom. In semi-hooligan mode, I burned one gallon dead dinosaurs all urban 7.4 miles. Made an extended meeting of the intergovernmental cruising, double the figure just. Again, who cares? Stateside, the flying "B" above the radiator provides owners a free pass from any social and / or environmental commitment. And that's why the GT sheet and interior, rather than define their on-road dynamics, ultimately the car character.

Bentley new owners worked hard to give their muscle coupe with brand-specific stylistic elements (eg, twin headlamps of varying sizes). In my eyes, the whole design looks like a squashed, angular version of an Aston Martin Vanquish. The GT-form, though vaguely British, lacks cohesion. In particular, the sharp creases on either side of the hood to make the bow look as if it was made by a Play-Do Form Cutter. I guess the Chrysler 300C is a better looking Bentley. But hey, that's me. Most people consider the GT an appropriately British "gentleman's express".

Once inside, the smell overwhelmed aesthetic sensibility. Every inch of the GT car that is not covered with piano-grade wood or brushed aluminum or what once Wilton carpet sewn perfect slathered glove soft, dizzyingly perfumed leather. I guess the GT immaculate upholstery, the car finest hour, in perfect harmony with British tailoring tradition.

From there it goes directly back to the homeland. The GT's main screen and associated buttons are lifted directly from the Phaeton. All switch-even the signature "organ stop" vent controls work with Germanic precision. And if you missed the point, the words "Made in Germany" written in large letters at the base of the cigarette lighter.

Is that a bad thing? Is it fair to diss GT just because it has not been developed by the original DNA of the brand? It depends. If you think a car should reflect the engineering and design of their home form, then no, we should not touch this mighty machine. The Bentley Continental GT is a really great German car manufacturer.