What you get
Would six liters divvied up among 12 cylinders force-fed by two turbos and two intercoolers good for 555 horsepower and 650 Nm of torque qualify as “huge and powerful” in your book? The W-12 engine (picture two VR6s on a common crank) is based on the powerplant used in the Audi A8, but it gets unique low-compression pistons to handle boost levels of between 4.4 and 10.2 psi huffed up by twin 3K Warner turbochargers. That pressure arrives instantly and imperceptibly, providing peak torque at just 1600 rpm. The engine is hand-assembled at the Bentley factory in Crewe.
The Continental GT was born in a virtual world. Every nut, bolt and washer was designed in concert with the Data Control Model – the computer simulation that would then design the tooling to physically build the car. Certain Bentley trademarks endure – the bullseye chromed ventilation outlets and the organ stop controls, but don’t get the impression that this interior is a quaint retro pastiche. It’s this blend of old and new that’s particularly fascinating.
There’s no mistaking this Bentley for anything with just five digits behind the dollar sign. Climb in, and the nose is treated to the scent of fine leather while the eyes and fingers encounter nothing but double-stitched leather, aluminum, and book-matched burled-wood trim on practically every surface.