Luxury, elegance, and style are never in short supply when you're sitting in a Bentley Continental GT, a car that blends the sporting intentions of something like a Maserati Gran Turismo with the luxury of a Rolls-Royce Wraith. It's available in two configurations, the first of which boasts a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. The second option swaps out the V8 for a monstrous 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine generating 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, but both come with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel-drive. This makes for a supremely powerful yet absolutely effortless drive, but in a world where top-speed records and Nurburgring lap times dominate the headlines, is there still a place for the sporty but heavy Bentley? And if these performance benchmarks mean little to you, should those obsessed with luxury rather stick with a Rolls?
2021 sees few updates, but there are some changes for the new Bentley Continental GT if you look closely. A new design of steering wheel is standard and now features capacitive sensing, and three new paint options are offered: Patina, Viridian, and Snow Quartz. A new interior trim in sustainably-sourced tweed is also made available.
See trim levels and configurations:
The exterior of the Continental GT is instantly recognizable; this is the car that instantly springs to mind when the Bently brand is mentioned. Although the design has been updated over the years, Bentley's designers are like those at Porsche, only adding subtle refinements to the model with each new generation. Not that it needs anything radical - the bright chrome matrix front grille and four LED Matrix headlights continue to imbue a sense of tradition alongside technology. A chrome accent line runs from a vent in the front fender, but this can be blacked out. The headlight surrounds, grilles, and other chrome accents like the ones around the windows can also get the same treatment. 20-inch wheels are standard on the so-called base model with 21s fitted to the W12 version, but both variants can even have 22s if the mood takes you; these are standard on Mulliner editions. At the rear, oval LED taillight housings and a retractable trunk spoiler help the vehicle look elegant while quad pipes on the V8 and dual oval tailpieces on the W12 hint at the car's performance. A panoramic glass roof is available as an option.
The Continental GT is bigger than it looks in pictures, but it's dimensions aren't so bad that parking the car is a chore. Length measures 190.9 inches from end to end with the wheelbase at 112.2 inches. Width is similarly expansive, with a measurement rating of 77.4 inches when the mirrors are folded and 86.1 inches when they're fully extended. Height on both models is quoted at 55.3 inches while curb weight on the V8 model starts at 4,773 pounds. The regular Continental is a heavy car, but the W12 model is considerably lardier, tipping the scales at 4,947 lbs.
You have a huge selection of colors when you buy a Bentley. While most manufacturers would consider 10 hues to be generous, Bentley offers eight different shades of black alone, and similar numbers of blues, greens, silvers, and more. Blue options include colors like Portofino, Sequin Blue, and Windsor Blue, but you also get access to colors like Bronze, Camel, Orange Flame, and Rose Gold. Green hues include Apple Green, Midnight Emerald, Verdant, and British Racing Green 4. The more adventurous among us may prefer something like Azure Purple or Candy Red by Mulliner, while the true extroverts may find happiness in the daring crimson of St. James Red in a pearlescent finish by Mulliner. Monaco Yellow is also quite a loud shade, but we recommend something a little less conspicuous like Tungsten or Extreme Silver if you don't like a lot of attention.
If you want the fastest and most powerful Bentley Continental GT coupe, you're gonna be ticking the W12 box. A 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine sits under the hood and sends an astonishing 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This allows the big brute to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, with top speed only arriving at 207 mph. In a car that weighs almost 5,000 lbs, that's incredible. The V8 version isn't far behind though. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo engine produces 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, and although this is considerably less than the range-topper, the GT V8 can still do the 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds. Top speed on this model is rated at 198 mph, although we suspect that it has been limited to this figure just so that W12 owners could have bragging rights. Both models accelerate strongly and feel like they have a lot more to give, but the Bentley USP is the way it delivers power. The GT feels both strong and restrained regardless of configuration, making it the ideal long-distance luxury grand tourer.
The base (if any Bentley could ever truly be accurately described as such a thing) Conti GT comes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 generating 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque. It's an engine that is shared with numerous Porsche and Audi products, but torque is higher here with power slightly reduced. The idea is that this setup makes the acceleration feel more effortless and serene, and if that was the goal, then it's job well done. You have to continually keep an eye on the speed you're doing because the near silence of driving the GT coupled with its linear power delivery can get you into an awkward conversation with a state trooper real quick. Pulling away from traffic lights is also easy, but if you are too enthusiastic with the throttle, you'll definitely get sucked into your seat.
Things with the trademark W12 are just as impressive. This 6.0-liter twin-turbo engine is wildly impressive, with all of its 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque feeling as approachable as 100 hp in a Mini. Again, throttle response and acceleration are good and strong, but not in a way that makes you scared to drive the car. Both engine options are paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, and it feels as smooth and silky as a modern auto when left to its own devices. Take control via the steering-mounted paddles and the responses are lightning-quick and accurate, but this is a car meant for cruising, so we prefer to leave it in auto.
Despite what we've just said about how the Continental is best enjoyed as a grand tourer that you simply relax in, it's come a long way and is considerably more agile than it used to be. See, Bentley for a long time would just accept that it is a brand more focused on luxury than anything else, but in recent times, the British automaker has started to properly focus on its racing pedigree and has tried - to good effect - to make the Continental a spiritual successor to its early-20th-century race cars without compromising on the luxury that has made it immensely popular with rappers and A-list celebs. This shift in focus has paid off, although there's no getting away from the sheer mass of the Conti. Thanks to adaptive suspension that works to actively minimize body roll and lean through fast bends, the Continental GT stays remarkably flat. Brake-based torque vectoring helps with tightening your line too, and the steering is both accurate and surprisingly willing to give you feedback, but the one area in which you need to be careful is slowing down. Obviously, the brakes are massive, but they're calibrated to be easy to use when you're trying to come to a smooth stop in traffic. What this means is that you have to apply a little more pressure than you may expect to stop from higher speeds. Nevertheless, the Continental GT handles spirited driving well, while still giving you a remarkably supple drive.
If you have any delusions that modern technology can make a 6.0-liter 12-cylinder engine economical without the assistance of a hybrid system, the Continental GT W12's figures will give you a proper wake-up call. According to the EPA, this model returns 12/20/15 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The V8 is better, returning estimates of 16/26/19 mpg on the same cycles. Both models are fitted with a 23.78-gallon gas tank that will give the W12 around 356 miles with mixed driving, while the V8 should allow you to cover around 451 miles before needing another fill-up.
As stunning as the classically styled bodywork is, the interior of a Bentley Continental GT is simply fantastic. There's stunning wood everywhere, swathes of leather in every direction, and superb metal details in just the right quantities. There is a digital driver display and a similar 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display that can be made to rotate and hide out of sight too. The steering wheel is heated as standard too, and there are upgrades like massaging and ventilated seats available. As you can imagine, there's plenty of comfort and space for those up front, but the rear is a little cramped for adults. Still, that's to be expected, and the cabin feels truly special.
The Bentley Continental GT has enough space for four, provided that half of the occupants are not of legal driving age. The rear seats are typically difficult to climb into as an adult, and once seated, you'll find a shortage of headroom and legroom. This is a car for the driver and his or her companion. 12-way heated, power-adjustable seats are fitted up front as standard, but the available massaging and ventilated seats give you even more range of adjustment. Regardless of what seats are chosen, the front is spacious, comfortable, and supportive. The driving position is good too, and visibility in most directions (besides your blind spots) is great.
Bentley doesn't just give you a world of customization when it comes to choosing the color of your exterior paint. That kind of care for a customer's very specific tastes extends to the interior too, and as you can imagine, imitation leather or plastic would be sacrilegious in here. Instead, you get genuine leather, aluminum, and wood. The leather can be had with or without contrast stitching, with the latter option available alone or with piping on the seats. Contrast hand-cross-stitching is also available along with embroidery on the headrests, and even the finish of the steering wheel can be customized in a two-tone finish. Numerous colors are available, with the leather offered in shades like Cumbrian Green, Imperial Blue, Magnolia, Saddle, and even a red called Hotspur. Trim elements are available in high gloss carbon fiber, but we think a Bentley simply must have wood inside. Plenty of options are available here too, with Piano Black arguably the most common. Crown Cut Walnut is standard, but Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus is available too, as are other options like Dark Stained Burr Walnut and Liquid Amber. In addition, you can have Diamond Knurled aluminum A/C vents, organ stop controls, and clock bezels. And if you don't like what's on offer - even after spending hours looking through the various options - Bentley will happily come up with something custom just for you.
A grand tourer needs to be able to handle luggage, even if said GT is trying to be sportier. Fortunately, the Continental is a vehicle that is reasonable, although not brilliant in this department. Its trunk offers 12.6 cubic feet of volume, enough for a couple of medium-sized suitcases for you and your PA.
In the cabin, large door pockets are supplemented by an average glovebox, center armrest storage, and a spot in the center console for your wallet and phone.
As you'd expect when you're spending six figures on a luxury sportscar, there are plenty of standard features included with your purchase. The Conti GT in either configuration comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, parking sensors, a rearview camera, soft-close doors, and a power trunk lid. You also get rain-sensing wipers, heated power-adjustable front seats, and LED Matrix adaptive headlights. Options include ventilated and massaging front seats, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, wireless charging, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, night vision camera, surround-view camera, heated windshield, hands-free trunk, head-up display, and a panoramic glass roof.
The infotainment system in the Bentley Continental GT follows the trend that so many others have, with a 12.3-inch touchscreen display acting as the interface between you and your media. It looks good and is easy enough to operate, but we do feel that it could look a touch more extravagant for a car of this price instead of using relatively generic graphics. Nevertheless, you can do something that you can't in pretty much any other car - opt for a rotating display that hides the screen in the dash. Also available are upgrades like wireless charging, digital TV, a Bang & Olufsen 16-speaker audio system, and for true audiophiles, a stunning 18-speaker surround sound system by Naim. If this doesn't interest you, the standard features may be enough. These include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, navigation, and a ten-speaker sound system with 650 watts of power.
Thus far, the 2021 Continental GT has performed well with regards to reliability, but the 2020 model did suffer one recall for sunroof glass that may separate from the car.
Fortunately, Bentley provides three years of limited and powertrain coverage with no mileage limit. There's also one year or 10,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
As you can well imagine, cars at this level are rarely crashed due to their price and low production run, but with plenty of R&D spent on making the Conti safe, you should have no concerns about safety.
Like all other modern cars sold in the USA, the Bentley Continental GT comes with a rearview camera. You also get frontal and side-impact airbags, along with a park assist system with parking sensors on either end of the car. You also have rain-sensing wipers, LED Matrix adaptive headlights, and the usual traction and stability management programs, while options include adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, a night vision camera, a head-up display, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera, and forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking at city speeds.
The Bentley Continental GT, like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis, trades on its name more than on its substance as a car. It could be terribly slow, with horrendous fuel economy and a total lack of driver aids and it would still sell. Cars at this level are all about their luxury and the status that driving one brings, but the Continental GT has been continuously evolving anyway. Much like the Porsche 911, it's about the small changes each year that slowly make it better and better, and while the 911 is the ultimate sports car, the Continental GT is the ultimate grand touring luxury coupe. It's serenely quiet and lavishly appointed, but when you bury your right foot, it comes alive in ways that cars weighing almost 5,000 lbs should have no right to. Is it a good car? Sure. Is it a great grand tourer? Absolutely. Our review of the Bentley Continental GT has been as enjoyable as you can imagine, and that smile on our faces makes it worth every penny.
Looking for a bargain? Best look elsewhere. Prices of the Bentley Continental GT start at $202,500 for the V8 model, before a destination charge of $2,725. The Bentley Continental GT W12's cost is even pricier, asking for 266,665 of your greenbacks before you've even added any options. For even more exclusivity, the Mulliner variants can be had if you reach deep into your pockets, and while there are no official MSRP figures to go on, we'd expect the total price to near the $300k mark, fully loaded with options. This is without taking the $2,725 destination fee into account.
The 2021 Bentley Continental GT is offered in two variants based on engine selected: V8 and W12, and each can be had in Mulliner flavor, too. As you can imagine, the core differences between these two models lies in their engines, but while the V8 has quad exhaust tips and 20-inch wheels as standard, the W12 gets a pair of larger, oval pipes at the rear and rides on 21-inch wheels as standard, although either model can have 22s. The V8 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 developing 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, while the W12 gets a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 producing 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque.
Both models get AWD and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, black brake calipers, adaptive air suspension, LED Matrix adaptive headlights, 12-way heated power front seats, leather upholstery, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display with satellite radio, navigation, smartphone integration, and a ten-speaker sound system. Options include interior mood lighting, a hands-free trunk, a night vision camera, wireless charging, a rotating infotainment display, a panoramic glass roof, ventilated and massaging front seats, and a Naim 18-speaker surround-sound system.
Mulliner trims add exclusive design and style elements and can be had with either powertrain. 22-inch wheels are standard, and the exterior gets touches like a double diamond wing vent and a jewel fuel and oil filler cap. In the cabin bespoke embossing on the seats is standard, and the Front Seat Comfort specification is included for more opulence and class.
As impressive as the Continental GT is, Bentley is not one to shy away from taking more of your money. One of the available packages is called the Touring Specification, and this adds a head-up display, night vision camera, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and Bentley Safeguard Plus which comprises both intersection assist and emergency lane change assist. Configurable multicolor ambient lighting is available as part of the Mood Lighting Specification. Massaging and ventilated front seats form part of the Front Seat Comfort Specification, while most other options are focused on customizing the aesthetics through trim panels, leather colors, and wheels, each of which can be upgraded to your spec.
While it's always tempting to opt for the most powerful model, in this case, it makes a very small difference to the acceleration figures and top speed capabilities of the Continental GT. Besides the exhaust tips, both models look very similar to each other too. Hence, we recommend opting for the V8 model. It can still do almost 200 mph, get to 60 in under four seconds, and comes with most of the same features as standard. It gets power-operated, heated front seats, adaptive suspension, a ten-speaker sound system, and LED Matrix adaptive headlights. There's not much more that you need, and the standard 20s should offer even more comfort than the 21s on the W12. There's always the Mulliner edition if you have the money to spend and the need to be pampered, too.
The BMW M8 Coupe is something you may be interested in if you want comfort, power, and a beautiful interior. What the M8 lacks in sheer opulence and outright ride quality, it makes up for by being ridiculously quick and loaded with tech. It's worth noting, though, that BMW is no longer importing the M8 Coupe for the 2021 model year, so if you want one, it'll have to be a 2020. The BMW has a less exotic badge, but that also means it costs less, and even with options, it would be tricky to get close to the Bentley's base price. With a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine under the hood in two states of tune, each of which provides at least 600 hp, the M8 can get from 0-60 in just 3.1 seconds and will top out at 190 mph if it's equipped with the M Driver's Package. The BMW technically has rear seats, but they're extremely cramped and unsuitable for adults over long journeys. Nevertheless, without the prestige of a name like Bentley, those looking for the ultimate in luxury sports car opulence will be better catered to in the Continental. If you want a fast and fun GT, the M8 is ideal, but if you want to feel like an English lord, nothing quite does the trick like a Bentley.
The most obvious and direct rival to Bentley is Rolls-Royce, although the two British marques are actually very different. While Bentley focuses on seamlessly merging luxury and sporting prowess, the Rolls-Royce Wraith - arguably the sportiest Rolls there is - is far more interested in providing the most comfortable and exquisite driving experience possible. This car cares little for hitting apexes but can alter its throttle inputs and damper rebound to ensure that the road feels silkily smooth. However, this kind of luxury isn't cheap, and the Wraith makes the Continental look affordable thanks to an asking price of well over $300,000 - before any options. Rolls-Royce is also arguably more prestigious a brand, but the choice will come down to this: if you like driving, get the Conti. If you want ultimate luxury, get the Rolls. Or, if you can afford one, you can probably afford to have both.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Bentley Continental GT: