While the pursuit of speed has been around for much longer than the automobile itself; when the internal combustion engine first merged with 4 wheels that search greatly intensified. Now fast-forward to this latest Bentley Continental GT, not only does it ooze sex appeal and extravagance, but it’s the fastest Bentley ever. And it’s fittingly called… the GT Speed.
What’s in a name? Well, as Speed is in the name of the 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed, it’s clear that that’s what this car is all about. As its top speed of 205 miles-per-hour, is indeed 1 mile-per-hour faster than the Bentley Continental Supersports. And while there are no public roads in this country where you can actually do that legally, just knowing that you can is enough for most people.
Making the speed possible is a slight tweaking of the Continental’s 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine. Turbo pressure is boosted to 28 psi, and the ECU gets reprogrammed to manage it. The result is 616-horsepower and an even more impressive 590 lb-ft. of torque.
Exterior tweaks to the GT Speed are subtle, but like any luxury item, those “in the know” will quickly spot the 21-inch split-spoke wheels and the darker finish to the front air intakes. And those that aren’t “in the know” can appreciate the new chrome trim around the tail lights and unique rifled exhaust tips as you streak past them. And if our car’s flaming orange paint job is not ostentatious enough, Bentley will be happy to mix up a custom color just for you; as in Crewe, all things are possible for a price.
Streaking down the track like a freight train out of control, the GT Speed reaches the end of the ¼ in just 12.1-seconds and 119 miles per hour, and it feels like it’s just getting started. With Speed in the name it had better bring it, and it surely does as it leaps off the line with authority and, thanks to all-wheel-drive, no wheel spin, launching to 60 in just 4-seconds flat.
It sounds mean under full throttle, but still not as aggressive as the V8 Continental. With almost 16-feet of length and over 600-horsepower connected to your right foot, navigating through the cones is an exercise in restraint. Initiating the Speed’s Dynamic Mode helps a little.
But unless you have your own private race track, most of your time will be spent at more sedate speeds, and that is where this Continental really impresses; with a smooth manner and solid ride that can only be found in cars of a certain exclusivity. This basic chassis has been around for a while now and we love it just as much now as we did when it first appeared. It has spawned some great automotive machinery over the years, but this one’s the best yet.
Inside, the feel is still incredibly “high end”, but there’s still a decidedly sporty turn with a perforated leather headliner, turned metal trim, metal pedals, and color stitching throughout the cabin. There’s something for almost every sense to enjoy, whether it’s the feel of the controls, the smell of the leather, or the sounds coming from the 11-hundred watt “naim” audio system. The front seats look great and provide both incredible comfort and support.
If there’s any bad news to report, it’s that the Speed will cost you a trust fund busting $215,000. At that price, there are quite a few options out there; most of which are actually more entertaining to drive. But none can touch the Bentley’s mix of exquisite style, personalized luxury, and sheer performance. It’s not an exotic sports car, just an incredibly well-done high-end luxury coupe.
Is it worth it? Well if you’ve got enough money to consider it, it probably doesn’t matter. All we know is, we loved the Continental before and we love it more now. And while it is currently nowhere near the Christmas season, we’d put up a tree any time if there was even a chance that we’d find a 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed underneath.
Engine: 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12
Torque: 590 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.1 seconds @ 119 mph