XCAR: Bentley Continental GT Speed: Fastest ever Bentley road car
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XCAR: Bentley Continental GT Speed: Fastest ever Bentley road car

5:45 /

The GT speed is the latest evolution of the Bentley Continental GT and with a top speed of 205mph it really lives up to its name.

-Bentley was founded in 1919 and for ten years after that it grew into one of the most exciting and dynamic car brands in the world. Bentley's customers were an eccentric bunch, a group of which were referred to as "the Bentley Boys," a group who helped cement Bentley's reputation as a high performance brand by winning Le Mans no fewer than 5 times in 10 years including 4 years on the trot. By the end of the 20s, the new Bentley 8 liter looked like it could be a competitor to Rolls-Royce's Phantom II. By the end of the 20s also brought the great depression, and with sales dwindling, Bentley was forced to sell out to a company called British Central Equitable Trust. But it wasn't until all the paperwork was signed that was revealed that this was a front for Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce now controlled Bentley, and from then on in, all Bentley's were based on Rolls Royce models. W.O. Bentley, the founder of the company left Rolls Royce in 1935 to joint Lagonda, later to be joined with Aston Martin and did some interesting work there, but we will never know how Bentley could have developed to the 20th century if had been left to grow. Fast forward to 2002, Rolls Royce had been bought by BMW some four years prior and the VW group now had control over Bentley. The first new car to be introduced after Bentley became the property of the VW group was the Bentley Continental GT. When it was announced, sales had fallen to around 1000 units per year for Bentley. But within 4 years, in 2007, 10,000 units were sold. Bentley's image had changed. Ten years on from its debut, we now have the second generation of the Continental GT and this, the fastest production car Bentley have ever made, the Continental GT Speed. The 6 liter twin turbo W12 engine delivers 616 brake horsepower and will get the GT Speed all the way up to 205 miles an hour. It will get from 0-60 in 4 seconds and will hit a 100 miles an hour from a standing start in just 9 seconds. Design wise, the GT Speed remains largely the same, with a new darker grille, chrome around the rear light cluster, a rifled exhaust and this W12 badge to show off that you didn't cheap out and go for the V8 version. The leather and wood interior remind you that you've paid £151,000 pounds for this car and make the GT Speed a genuinely pleasant place to spend a few hours while you eat up the miles. -The original Bentley Continental predates the first motorways in the U.K. and that's where it gets its name from to really get the best [unk]. You have to take it to France or Germany to enjoy their motorways. Now, of course, we have plenty of motorways in the U.K., but you still kind of go very fast. So, the only real place to take a car like this to see if you can actually get anywhere near that, 205 miles an hour is Germany and the autobahn. VW is known for this iconic W12 6 liter engine and is an absolute beauty. It's twin turbocharge, which is where you're getting the 616 brake horsepower from. It's an amazing bolt of power. That's just a fraction of a second behind you planting your foot. The new gearbox is as well as incredibly intelligent able to drop you from 8th gear to 4th gear if you need to in a flash of a second. These take full advantage of open road ahead of you. -151,000 pounds may seem like a lot of money, but Bentley are keen to point out, and for that, you're in fact is getting 2 different cars. One is a long distance GT Cruiser you'd expect from Bentley. Comfort and luxury are the watch words and both come in speeds. You can sit back and let the miles melt away while you blast your favorite tunes through the excellent sound system, which comes courtesy of British manufacturer's name. The new 8-speed automatic gearbox not only gives you a significant boost of fuel economy, it also allows you to cruise a high speed while barely taxing the engine. If you want to, the GT Speed can be a quite, refined relaxing place to be while you get to where you're going. Dropping the GT Speed into sport mode awakens the sharper, snarlier, more aggressive car that has been hiding underneath all along. The throttle response is notably sharpened and the car will hold on to gears for dear life before letting them go for the next. The result does feel like a different car in sport mode, on the wet modes we were driving on, it felt like if you drop concentration for a second, you would get yourself in trouble. But don't be mistaken. The GT Speed doesn't turnover full control. The onboard computer still makes more calculations per second renewal in your entire life, all aimed keeping you stuck on the road. -Bentley is really trying hard to get the jewel niche of this car working. On the one hand, a GT Cruiser built for comfort over long journeys. And on the other hand, a dynamic sports car where the push of a button you get more response of handling, more dynamic in the corners and just a lot more exciting car to drive. -Despite what I may have hoped for when they told me this car was 2-1, it doesn't actually change shape like a transformer. It seems in life you can't have everything. But the Bentley Continental GT Speed however is one hell of a car, whether you want to just smoothly chew up motorway miles or scare yourself half to death on mountain roads, the GT speed has you covered.

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