Driving report: Bentley Continental Speed

Because less is more? While motor disarmament is rampant everywhere, stands Bentley in fidelity firmly to his twelve cylinders. The British are also working on electrification. But first there is a second look for the combustion engine and the GT W12 becomes the Continental Speed. It lives up to its name.

The Bentley Boys open a barrel again. While most luxury suppliers are setting the petrolheads for electric times, the British VW subsidiary is once again inviting them to the petrol party. Sure, they have long been soldering batteries together in Crewe and Bentley should have the first pure electric car at the latest five years from now. But while they are doing one thing, they don't want to leave the other, says Chief Development Officer Matthias Rabe, rolling the new Continental GT Speed ​​into the spotlight as proof.

At prices from 267.869 euros for the coupé and 294.644 euros for the convertible, the GT Speed ​​is moving to the top of the model family these days and celebrating the most stylish and fastest way to convert energy into emotion. Because for every liter that rushes through the twelve cylinders, the Continental thanks you with a big smile on the face of its driver. And because there are plenty of liters, the driver has plenty of laughs too.

A few more horsepower for € 60.000

The source of this joy is the sovereign as well as sinful 6,0-liter engine, to which Bentley is the last VW brand to remain loyal. In the basic model it still has 635 hp, it comes in speed to 659 hp and with its 900 Nm allows the lush pounds of the luxury liner to melt away with an ease that makes every diet expert pale with envy.

Driving report: Bentley Continental Speed
Large carbon-ceramic discs ensure very good deceleration

Of course, the increase in performance is minimal and hardly justifies a surcharge of more than 60.000 euros. Especially since the basic model is neither particularly cheap nor somehow underpowered. But with the speed badge there is not only the more powerful engine and a few blackened trim parts for the dark side of the splendor.

Since the latest all-wheel drive

At the same time, Bentley has expanded the driving profiles further and given the downright good-natured Continental a dark character to go with its gloomy appearance. Because while it remains the sovereign Gran Turismo for long journeys in Bentley mode and becomes a luxurious cuddly pillow in the comfort setting, it actually shows its teeth in sport mode. The all-wheel steering for the new generation was already an asset. But in combination with an electronic limited-slip differential and a little more mesh in the network of assistance systems, the Continental suddenly becomes really agile for its format. Surprisingly handy, it arrows around the corners and allows itself a lascivious exit in curves.

Brakes deluxe

But the most impressive thing is the spurt on a long straight highway: When you are up to 3,6 in 100 seconds, 7,7 in 160 and what feels like 335 things on your speedometer a moment later, you think you are in a jumbo at the start. Except that this low-flying aircraft is sucking itself harder and harder on the road instead of lifting its broad snout into the sky.

But because even the longest straight comes to an end, and because even with all-wheel drive and the tightest programming for the air suspension you can not thrash through the curves with such a colossus, the British have installed no less impressive brakes: carbon-ceramic Panes the size of pizza plates develop such a vehement delay that your eyeballs want to bang against the windshield and enough heat escapes from the wheel arches that you could use them to heat a family house for several hours.

However, concern about physical well-being is superfluous with such extreme experiences. Because no matter how wild you go, all you need to do is press a button and the air-conditioned massage chairs cure any temporary tension.

Although he is now rolling with brute force across the country road, he fights his way through tight bends surprisingly bravely and actually lets something like commitment arise through the cloud-soft cotton pad of his adaptive air suspension. But what you can hardly get the Continental out of even at kickdown is the aggressive roar of other show-off cars. No matter how much the Brit gives in to his great thirst in this frenzy: once a gentleman, always a gentleman. 

Technical data

Four-seater luxury class coupé, length: 4,85 meters, width: 1,95 meters (width with exterior mirrors: 2,19 meters), height: 1,41 meters, wheelbase: 2,85 meters, trunk volume: 358 liters 
Four-seater convertible in the luxury class, length: 4,85 meters, width: 1,95 meters (width with exterior mirrors: 2,19 meters), height: 1,40 meters, wheelbase: 2,85 meters, trunk volume: 358 liters

Driving report: Bentley Continental Speed
As usual, it is classy inside

Drives of the Continental Speed

Continental GT Speed
6,0 liter W12 petrol engine, 485 kW / 659 hp, maximum torque: 900 Nm at 1.500-5 rpm, 000-0 km / h: 100 s (3,6 s convertible), Vmax : 3,7 km / h, average consumption: 335 liters, CO13,7 emissions 2 g / km (311 liters, CO14,1 emissions: 2 g / km, convertible), emissions standard: Euro 320, price: from 6 euros (267.869 Euro convertible)

In brief

Why: because enough is not enough
Why not: because you don't always want to be the center of attention
What else: a BMW eight if it shouldn't be quite so opulent and a Rolls-Royce Wraith if it can be a little thicker
When does he come: from now on

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