The debut of the original Bentley Continental GT in 2003 breathed new life into the otherwise antiquated British marque. At the time, Bentley was selling only about 1,000 models annually, but—due in large part to the success of the new car—the automaker’s sales climbed quickly, peaking at more than 10,000 examples in 2007. Staying true to its bestseller, the brand has unveiled an all-new Continental GT.
For 2011, the baby Bentley is getting a much-needed redesign with more machismo and charisma built into the body panels. Flared rear haunches accentuate the car’s widened stance, while the new grille design and sleek profile give it a more sporty appearance—but the new Bentley Continental GT is much more than a pretty show car. The big coupe comes with a more powerful 6-liter twin-turbocharged W-12 engine that produces a respectable 567 horsepower and is built to run on either E85 ethanol or premium petroleum. This added power—along with a 150-pound weight reduction from the previous model—help the remodeled GT sprint to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 198 mph.
However, the biggest news for the Bentley Continental GT comes in the form of a 4-liter V-8 engine, which—when paired with a new 8-speed transmission—brings it that much closer to its corporate cousin: the Audi A8. Those who wish to differentiate themselves should go for the W12 version, which will carry a starting sticker price of $189,900 when it goes on sale early next year. (www.bentleymotors.com)