Bentley Continental GT Speed : First Drive
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There’s something inseparable about Bentley’s and the Middle-East. Comfort, luxury and speed - lots of speed. It’s pretty much the Arabian dream, isn’t it? So when I find myself behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT, blasting down an arrow straight strip of buttery smooth tarmac, surrounded by rolling sand dunes on either side, my right foot welded to the firewall, I’m not really surprised. Very much amused with a really stupid grin plastered across my face, and maybe even a little in love, but definitely not surprised. The source of my amusement isn’t your regular Continental, which is already a very special car. But the one I’m driving is, er, specialer!
The name says it all. Speed! Wow, I’m sold right there. It’s so much better than the usual fare of suffixes like ‘sport’ or ‘S’ or whathaveyounot. Speed; that one word conjures up images of Bentley Boys of old, in their old Speed Sixes, tearing it up at Le Mans. So the name has a lot to live up to and rest assured that Bentley doesn’t stick it on just any of its models. This Continental GT Speed that I’m driving is the fastest road car that Bentley has ever produced – capable of a mind-numbing top speed of 330km/h. But it’s not just the speed, it’s how it gets there that more impressive than anything else.
Under the hood, there’s the familiar 6.0-litre twin turbo W12 engine, but thanks to a brand new, and rather cutting edge, engine management system, which better runs the two massive turbochargers among other things, the motor now makes a humungous 625PS of power and an absolutely ridiculous 800Nm of torque.
Now these figures are 50PS and 100Nm more than before, so even though there hasn’t been any diet plan in the Continental’s agenda, it is able to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds! We’re talking supercar levels of acceleration here, and that too from a Grand Tourer packed to the hilt with all the luxuries you can imagine, tipping the scales at a rather beefy 2,320kg kerb weight.