The most powerful Continental ever gets a mild makeover

It’s been only a year since Bentley introduced a mild visual update for the bonkers GT Speed and massaged its W-12 powerplant for an additional 10 ponies, and the Brits have issued yet another upgrade for its fastest production grand tourer ever. Set to bow at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March as a 2016 model, the revised GT Speed is part of an overhaul of the entire GT lineup, as well as the four-door Flying Spur. The GT Speed essentially borrows the visual enhancements that now adorn the standard GT, while receiving unique details that make it stand out as the most quick and powerful member of the GT family.

The mild upgrade brings a few nips and tucks in the cabin as well, likely to keep it fresh until the third-generation model arrives sometime in 2018. Granted, Bentley’s decision to update the Continental GT Speed two years in a row might seem strange, but the new add-ons are the result of the standard Continental’s mid-cycle facelift. Let’s have a closer look at what the GT Speed has in store for the 2016 model year in the detailed review below.

Updated 05/27/2016: Bentley announced prices for the 2017 Continental GT Speed, both coupe and convertible versions. Check the "Prices" section to see how much you will have to pay for it!

Click past the jump to read more about the Bentley Continental GT Speed.

  • 2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed
  • Year:
    2016- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    W12
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    633 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    620 @ 2000
  • Displacement:
    6.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    206 mph
  • Price:
    240300
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 617632
Updates continue around back with a more sculpted trunk lid that includes a more pronounced integrated spoiler.

While last year’s update brought body-colored aerodynamic enhancements and a darker finish for the headlamp, taillights and 21-inch wheels, the 2016 facelift brings a redesigned front bumper and a slightly revised grille. The grille does little to change the coupe’s appearance, but the new apron adds a touch of aggressiveness, thanks to its redesigned intake layout. The massive center vent now extends toward the fenders, while the side intakes have been enlarged and raised closer to the headlamps.

The front fenders gained a new B-shaped vent where the "Speed" emblem was fitted on the previous model, and the emblem was relocated between the front wheel and the door, right above the side sills. What I like about this new side vent is that it blends in with the character line that runs from the front bumper toward the rear haunches. It’s details like these that can make a grand tourer stand out from a design standpoint.

Updates continue around back with a more sculpted trunk lid that includes a more pronounced integrated spoiler. It might not be the best comparison, but it reminds me of the Porsche 911 2.7 RS. And I like it! While the new trunk lid can also be found on the standard GT, the revised rear diffuser is unique to the GT Speed and the V8 S. Complementing the new diffuser is a new chrome strip that runs the entire length of the upper bumper. Classy!

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 2,746 MM (108.1 Inches)
Overall length 4,806 MM (189.2 Inches)
Width (across body) 1,944 MM (76.5 Inches)
Width (inc. mirrors) 2,227 MM (87.7 Inches)
Overall height 1,394 MM (54.9 Inches)

Interior

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed Interior
- image 617633
Likewise, the center console gained a black gear-lever surround instead of the previous gray one, while cabin lighting is now provided by LEDs.

Inside the cabin, updates are less extensive, but noticeable nevertheless. Driver controls have been revised for a crisper look, while the instrument panel received new dials and graphics. Likewise, the center console gained a black gear-lever surround instead of the previous gray one, while cabin lighting is now provided by LEDs. The Mulliner Driving Specification, which comes standard on the GT Speed, has been updated to include a smaller diamond-quilting pattern "reminiscent of a tailored British jacket" for the front seats.

In addition to all of the above, customers can now add a host of new options to their GT Speeds, including softer semi-aniline hide and color-matched Alcantara for all the available leather hues. Speaking of colors, Bentley added Shortbread and Camel to the existing options, meaning buyers can choose between 17 different shades for the 2016 model year. Lastly, the GT Speed got a revised Onboard WiFi system for improved connectivity.

Drivetrain

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior
- image 617629
0 to 100 comes in just nine ticks, while Top Speed is a mind-boggling 206 mph.

While the venerable 6.0-liter W-12 powerplant received a 15-horsepower and 15-pound-feet increase in the standard Continental GT, it remained unchanged in the GT Speed. The lack of upgrades to the drivetrain makes sense though, as the range-topping model gained an extra 10 ponies and 17 pound-feet of twist in 2014. That said, the GT Speed carries on with 626 horsepower and 607 pound-feet of torque, which is nothing to sneeze at. Routed to the wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic, the oomph is enough to propel the heavy coupe from naught to 60 mph in only four seconds, and from 0 to 100 in nine, while Top Speed is a mind-boggling 206 mph.

Although Bentley says the updated W-12 in the standard Continental GT has an improvement to fuel economy of up to 5 percent, due to a new cylinder-deactivation feature, it’s unclear whether this applies to the GT Speed’s powerplant or not. Should the 626-horsepower version benefit from that new feature, expect the GT Speed to return up to 21 mpg of the highway instead of the previous model’s 20-mpg figure.

New For 2017

Having already received an update for 2016, the GT Speed was expected to carry over unchanged for the 2017 model year. However, Bentley decided that the 6.0-liter W-12 deserves a new upgrade and revised some of its internals to squeeze a bit more power. In its new configuration, the massive turbocharged W-12 cranks out 633 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of twist, which is a seven-horsepower and 13-pound-feet increase over the 2016 model.

While it might not seem like a lot, the extra oomph comes with reoptimized boost control, which allows the drivetrain to deliver maximum torque between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm, thus offering greater acceleration performance. As a result, the 0-to-60 mph sprint dropped from four to 3.9 seconds, setting a new benchmark for the Continental nameplate.

Drivetrain Specifications

2016 Model Year 2017 Model Year
Type 6.0-litre twin turbo W-12 6.0-litre twin turbo W-12
Output 626 HP @ 6,000 RPM 633 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 607 LB-FT @ 1,700 RPM 620 LB-FT @ 2,000-5,000 RPM
Transmission ZF 8-speed automatic with Quickshift, Block Shifting and wheel-mounted paddleshift ZF 8-speed automatic with Quickshift, Block Shifting and wheel-mounted paddleshift
0 to 60 mph 4 seconds 3.9 seconds

Prices

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed Exterior
- image 617624

Pricing for the Continental GT Speed starts from $240,300, about $10K more than the previous model. The Convertible model fetches $264,300 before options.

Model Price
GT Speed $240,300
GT Speed Convertible $264,300

Competition

Aston Martin Vanquish

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish High Resolution Exterior
- image 563425

When it comes to luxury grand tourers with massive, naturally aspirated mills under their hoods, the Aston Martin Vanquish is the only rig that can pose a threat to the Continental GT Speed. Now in its second generation, the Vanquish received a mild update for the 2015 model year, consisting of new, lighter wheels, new colors inside and out, upgraded dampers, and a new, Touchtronic III, eight-speed automatic transmission. A revised exhaust and a reconfigured engine management system added three extra horses and eight pound-feet of torque to the already powerful mill, taking the grand total to 568 ponies and 465 pound-feet.

While that might not sound like a lot when compared to the GT Speed’s 626-horsepower and 607-pound-feet rating, the Vanquish is actually a bit quicker than the Bentley. The secret lies in the new ZF transmission, which enables the Aston Martin to hit 60 mph from a standing start in only 3.6 seconds. That’s a half-second quicker than the previous model and 0.1 second faster than the GT Speed. In addition, the Vanquish now guzzles 7 percent less gasoline, which means 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway, and emits about 10 percent less carbon dioxide.

Pricing-wise, the Vanquish is significantly more expensive than the GT Speed, fetching in excess of $290,000.

Read more about the Aston Martin Vanquish here.

Conclusion

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior
- image 617628

Much like any other Bentley facelift, the revised Continental GT Speed comes with few updates inside and out. However, that’s not to say the 2016 model is dated. The new exterior features just enough novelties to make the new coupe stand out, while the revised interior gained what customers have been asking all along: more ways to customize their cabins with finer materials and updated technology. With the engine having been upgraded the previous year, it’s safe to say the GT Speed is plenty powerful for 2016. After all, the Continental GT is more than just a quick means of transportation. It’s a lifestyle!

  • Leave it
    • Slower than competition
    • Needs better handling

Updated History

Updated 04/04/2016: Bentley announced that for the 2017 model year, the Continental GT Speed will receive a boost in both power and torque. Continue reading to learn about the improvements received.

Updated 11/05/2015: Bentley dropped a new video showing its latest Continental GT Speed hitting an incredible speed of 206 mph on Stuart Highway, Australia - one of only three derestricted roads in the world. Behind the wheel was Australian racing legend, John Bowe.

Press Release

Bentley Motors is building on the global demand for the Continental GT family with a suite of contemporary design updates and new exquisite features for its most successful model. Bentley’s luxurious and powerful Flying Spur also receives a set of features for 2015, focusing on powertrain development, on-board technology and interior comfort.

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed Exterior
- image 617624

The new models will be unveiled and displayed at the Geneva Motor Show from Tuesday 3rd March, with deliveries starting this summer.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, comments:

“Bentley offers uncompromised luxury and performance with ultimate comfort for grand touring and our new 2015 features extend the appeal of our family. We listen carefully to our customers, and with these new evolutions we’re making our cars even more stylish, efficient, connected and useable every day.”

Exterior Evolution for the Continental GT

The Bentley Continental GT is refreshed with a complement of new exterior design features, aimed at sharpening the on-road presence of the iconic Grand Tourer. A new front bumper combines with a smaller radiator shell and new, more pronounced fenders to lend a more assertive and confident stance to the front of the car. The fenders now feature a new vent, complete with a graceful metallic “B” adornment, which serve to emphasise and enhance the renowned Bentley “power line” that flows rearwards from the front arches. New bright chrome fender badges for the V8 S and W12 models now match those applied to the GT Speed.

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior
- image 617625

At the rear of the car, the boot lid is now more sculpted, with a pronounced aerodynamic profile to the trailing edge. The rear bumper has been reshaped and widened for an added sense of power, and now features full-width brightware. The V8 S and GT Speed also gain a new rear diffuser design to further differentiate the performance-focused members of the Continental family.

The revisions to the exterior aesthetic are completed with the addition of new wheels to the range of 20” and 21” designs available. The standard wheel for the GT V8 and GT W12 becomes a new 20”, six-tri-spoke wheel, in painted finish for the V8 and bright machined for the W12. The Mulliner Driving Specification wheel changes to a new 21” seven-twin-spoke design, finished in Graphite grey with bright machined spokes. Finally, a new 21” five-spoke directional sports wheel joins the existing 21” design available for the V8 S and GT Speed.

Enhancing the GT’s iconic silhouette further, three new paint colours are available: Marlin (a rich metallic blue), Camel (a soft golden tone) and Jetstream (a light, bright metallic blue).

Modern Refinements to an Unrivalled Cabin

The visual upgrades continue inside the luxury cabin of the Continental range. A new and contemporary straight-fluting pattern adorns the four generous seats, while the Mulliner Driving Specification (standard on GT Speed) gains a tightened, “small-diamond” quilting pattern reminiscent of a tailored British jacket. Driver controls are all-new, with an optional, more ergonomic and sports-orientated steering wheel and larger gear-shift paddles incorporating tactile knurled metal embellishers.

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior
- image 617628

Brightware elements across the console are updated, the driver’s instrument panel receives new dials and graphics for a refreshed, more contemporary look, and the beauty of the new interior is now illuminated by LEDs. The centre console also features a new black gear lever surround, unifying the style of all driver controls. For V8 and V8 S coupe models, a new hidden storage compartment is fitted between the rear seats, capable of accommodating and charging electronic devices including iPads.

In addition to the changes to the standard specification, a new range of optional interior features has been developed.

GT W12 and GT Speed models can now be specified with new, softer semi-aniline hide for the seat cushions and backrests, represent the highest quality of leather available in the automotive market and giving an even more comfortable, luxurious and natural feel. Two new leather colours join the Continental range for 2015 - Shortbread and Camel.

Furthermore, the headlining of GT V8 S, GT W12 and Speed coupe models is now available in Alcantara®, colour matched to all 17 of the available interior hide colours.

Onboard WiFi, providing connectivity to all handheld devices in the car is also now available across the Continental family.

W12 Performance and Efficiency Continues

Under the revised skin of the Continental GT W12 lie three changes to the mighty 6.0-litre twin turbo W12 powertrain. Firstly, the engine receives a power and torque increase, from 575 PS (567 bhp / 423 kW) and 700 Nm (516 lb.ft) to 590 PS (582 bhp / 434 kW) and 720 Nm (531 lb.ft), to maintain the model’s reputation of effortless performance.

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior
- image 617629

The power upgrade is accompanied by improvements to fuel economy of up to 5%. The GT W12 now includes a variable displacement system and the new evolution is able to run at part throttle on six of its 12 cylinders to reduce fuel consumption without sacrificing refinement and offers lower CO2 emissions of 329 g/km and combined fuel economy of 20 mpg (14.1 litres/100 km).

Luxury of choice extended on Flying Spur

Bentley’s four-door luxury sedan, the Flying Spur, continues to appeal to the discerning, successful individual and additional features for 2015 offer even more bespoke choice.

A new 20” six-tri-spoke wheel is available for both V8 and W12 powered Flying Spurs, in three different finishes, while a 21” seven-twin-spoke design is offered on the Flying Spur W12 Mulliner in polished or Graphite painted with bright machining finishes.

The exquisite cabin of the Flying Spur also gains modern and tactile new features to maintain Bentley’s reputation for interior style and usability. The driver instruments are updated with contemporary graphics, while the steering wheel receives a new more sporting design. A knurled metal finisher adorns the optional gear shift paddles, and the Flying Spur receives the same onboard WiFi hotspot system as the updated Continental family for ultimate connectivity while travelling – keeping the Flying Spur as the ultimate car for work or relaxation.

Complementing the feature upgrades are new paint colours in the hues of Marlin, Camel and Jetstream – as per the Continental GT – and the addition of Shortbread and Camel hides to the extensive range of leathers.

The 625 PS (616 bhp / 460 kw) / 800 Nm (590 lb.ft) Flying Spur W12 engine gains efficiencies and even greater grand touring capability thanks to the variable displacement system now included on the Continental GT W12, for lower fuel consumption, increased range and lower emissions of 333 g/km CO2.

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