You can't go wrong with 650 hp and ultra-luxury.
Bentley has committed itself to an electrified future with all new models powered exclusively with batteries by 2030. But that's in the future. Bentley's present still involves extremely powerful internal combustion engines and the best example of this is the new Continental GT Speed.
The 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed is, according to the automaker, its "most dynamic road car in its 101-year history." It is the ultimate grand tourer thanks to an all-powerful W12 engine, an outstanding suspension, and a luxurious cabin. The main difference between the regular Continental GT and GT Speed boils down to power and performance. Along with some weight-savings, designers have touched up the exterior and interior with unique elements that wealthy buyers crave.
In many ways, the new Continental GT Speed is a celebration of Bentley's grand touring past and it's a wonderful way to end one powertrain era and welcome a new one.
The latest generation Continental GT already has an athletic stance but Bentley took this even further for its new performance variant. The GT Speed comes with a Dark Tint radiator grille, lower bumper grille, unique sports sills, and discreet 'Speed' chrome badging found on the front fender. A set of 22-inch bright silver wheels are standard, though buyers can opt for a dark tint or black gloss finish if they prefer.
Another lovely touch is the "Jewel" fuel and oil filler caps and the illuminated treadplates on each side sill.
Overall exterior dimensions remain the same to those of the standard Continental GT. Overall, these relatively mild styling upgrades provide an added dynamic layer to an already brilliant-looking big coupe.
Bentley is no stranger to crafting world-class interiors and the Continental GT Speed continues the tradition. With seating for up to four passengers and a total luggage capacity of 12.6 cubic feet, there's the usual array of standard handcrafted materials, but the Continental GT Speed has a few unique touches. There are duotone color split leather and matching Alcantara seats (a combination that's also applied to the steering wheel) and the passenger side includes the same 'Speed' emblem from the exterior.
Customization is a major factor for customers and Bentley says buyers will have a choice of 15 main and 11 secondary leather hide colors. They can also opt for full leather seats instead of the Alcantara. Other notable touches include a center console finished in a new dark tint aluminum, standard diamond seat quilting, and 'Speed' embroidered on the headrests. Piano Black veneer is standard and Crown Cut Walnut, Dark Stained Burr Walnut, and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus are available at no additional cost.
The extremely cool Rotating Display and the rest of the instrument panel are carried over from the regular model.
Under the hood lies the same 6.0-liter turbocharged W12 engine, only this time power has been increased from 626 horsepower to 650. Torque remains the same at 664 lb-ft. Bentley claims the Continental GT Speed will sprint to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than the regular model. Top speed is an eye-watering 208 mph. An eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox continues to route power to an active all-wheel-drive system that sends more torque to the rear wheels compared to the standard Continental GT.
Aside from upgraded power and performance, Bentley improved the coupe's handling characteristics with a new electronic all-wheel steering system that works with the Bentley Dynamic Ride and an improved electronic limited-slip differential. Bentley says the rear-wheel steering is now sharper with a quicker ratio, and is more active than it is on the Flying Spur where it's more focused on reducing the turning circle and improving high-speed stability.
A new carbon-ceramic braking system is optional and we're guessing expensive. It shaves over 72 pounds of weight, but also has carbon silicon carbide discs for even better stopping power. The Speed gets 10-piston front calipers and four-pistons at the rear.
The 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed is priced from $274,900 (not including destination) and can now be ordered. Deliveries are expected at dealerships later this year.
The competition for big, powerful, and ultra-luxurious coupes remains a very small but exclusive group that includes the Rolls-Royce Wraith, the returning BMW M8 Competition Coupe, and the soon-to-be discontinued Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe. With supercar-like power and performance figures, the grand tourer segment adds several more layers of luxury and exclusivity. Bentley has proven, once again, to be a master of its domain. In just a few more years, we'll witness the brand's complete transition to battery electrics, but the ultra-luxury experience will never cease.