More power, sportier looks

The Bentley Continental GT Speed is a higher performance version of the British grand tourer. Sportier looking and more powerful, it slots between the standard model and the range-topping Supersports. The new-generation GT Speed, based on the latest Conti GT, is scheduled to arrive in 2019 for the 2020 model year.

Launched in 2017, the third-generation Bentley Continental GT is already in dealerships, but the British luxury company has yet to offer all the usual variations, like a base V-8 model and higher-performance models of the W-12-powered coupe. But it seems the wait is nearly over, as the GT Speed was spotted testing on public roads recently. Just like its predecessor, the GT Speed will arrive with slightly sportier looks, a few extras inside the cabin, and a more powerful version of the company’s 6.0-liter W-12 engine.

Exterior

  • Blacked-out chrome trim
  • Bigger splitter
  • Larger trunk lid spoiler
  • New wheels
  • Special colors?
2019 Bentley Continental GT Speed Exterior Spyshots
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The spy shots suggest that the Speed model will look almost identical to the regular Continental GT model.

Needless to say, it sports the same sporty design based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept with the lowered nose, the three-piece bumper, and the more muscular fenders.

It seems longer and lower than its predecessor on the sides, while the rear boasts Bentley’s new-design taillights. The oval shape mimics the exhaust pipes and, for the first time ever, the lights run into the trunk lid.

So what sets this prototype apart from the standard Conti GT? For starters, there’s the black trim that replaced all chrome elements in the front and rear. Up front, all four headlamps have black surrounds, while the grille had both its frame and mesh refinished in black. The bumper seems to be identical to the regular coupe, but our paparazzi said they noticed extra vents behind the side grilles. The final version of the car should also have a bigger spoiler.

2019 Bentley Continental GT Speed Exterior Spyshots
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The profile is of the same variety, with black trim having replaced the chrome frame around the side windows. The small vent and the chrome trim just above the side skirts boasts a darker finish now. Unlike the window trim, it’s not black, but some sort of dark chrome. It’s difficult to tell due to the dark grey color of the car. In can also see larger wheels in a two-tone grey finish.

Similar upgrades are visible around back. There's black trim around the oval taillights and dark-chrome exhaust pipes.

The thin bumper trim is also darker, as is the trim around the license plate recess. No other changes are visible on the test car, but expect a slightly revised diffuser and maybe even a sportier spoiler on the trunk lid.

Interior

  • Same features as standard model
  • "Speed" badges
  • Extra upholstery options
  • Carbon-fiber trim?
2018 Bentley Continental GT High Resolution Interior Wallpaper quality
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If previous Speed models are any indication, the beefed-up coupe should be identical to the standard Continental GT inside the cabin.

As such, expect to find the redesigned interior that debuted for the 2018 model year. It’s stylish, sporty, and packed with luxury and high-tech features.

Arguably the most impressive feature is the new infotainment display. Called the Bentley Rotating Display, it’s a 12.3-inch touchscreen housed in a three-sided unit that revolves in the center stack. When the car is not in use, it appears to be no screen in the center of the dashboard, with the wood veneer flowing uninterrupted across the dashboard. When the engine start button is pressed, the veneer glides forward and rotates to reveal the configurable screen. The third side of the Rotating Display reveals three analog dials displaying outside temperature, a compass, and chronometer. This is an industry-first feature.

2018 Bentley Continental GT High Resolution Interior
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While you have the option to hide the infotainment display in favor of elegant looking clocks, the instrument cluster is is decidedly modern thanks to its 3D LED lights and the big screen in the middle for high-resolution navigation images and information. The steering wheel has been redesigned too and fitted with small buttons on both spokes.

The coupe also benefits from new wood veneer options, including Koa.

If you're a fan of wood, Bentley claims that over 10 square meters of wood are used in each car, all which is sustainably sourced.

Another highlight is the new finish for the lower center console, which can be specified thick aluminum machined to look like the mechanical surfacing inside Cotes de Geneve watches.

Of course, most surfaces are wrapped in fine leather with contrast stitching available in many colors. You can also pick between many color combos, ranging from all-black to flashing contrasts like black or red with white lower dashboard and seating inserts. Convenience is at its best in the Conti GT, with features like 20-way adjustable seats with heating, cooling, and massage function Apple CarPlay, real-time traffic, and Private eCall for emergency services included in the standard package.

2018 Bentley Continental GT Interior High Resolution
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A big fan of music? Well, you can pick between no less than three audio systems.

The standard unit features ten speakers and 650 watts, specs that place it in the premium market when compared to cars that aren’t as expensive as a Bentley. But the British company takes things up a notch with the optional Bang & Olufsen system with 1,500 watts, 16 speakers, and illuminated speaker grilles. Not good enough? Then you can go with a Naim 2,200-watt, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats.

So we’ve already discussed the new features in the Conti GT. But what about the GT Speed? Will it add something? Yes, but don’t expect anything out of this world. Add-ons should only include "Speed" badges, extra upholstery options, and maybe a bit more carbon-fiber on the dash and center console.

Drivetrain

  • Upgraded 6.0-liter W-12
  • Eight-speed automatic
  • Up to 670 horsepower
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds
  • Revised, stiffer suspension
2019 Bentley Continental GT Speed Exterior Spyshots
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The Continental GT hides a brand-new 6.0-liter W-12 engine under the hood and it’s safe to assume that Bentley will borrow it for the Speed version as well. Naturally, it will get a bit more power.

In the standard Conti GT, the massive mill cranks out 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. That’s almost as much horsepower as the old Speed model and significantly more torque. There’s no word as to how much the W-12 will deliver in the upcoming Speed, but expect the coupe to arrive with at least 650 horsepower.

It wouldn't be surprised to see the big 6.0-liter unit generate close to 670 horsepower and around 700 pound-feet of torque.

No matter the output, it will become the most powerful version of the third-generation Continental GT, at least until a new Supersports model arrive. The previous Supersports was rated at an amazing 700 horsepower and 750 pound-feet of twist!

2019 Bentley Continental GT Speed Exterior Spyshots
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The dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic transmission from the standard model will carry over to the GT Speed with some improvements. It should change gears quicker and smoother in order to help the coupe hit that 60-mph benchmark faster. The standard coupe needs 3.6 seconds to get there. With the extra power and upgraded underpinnings, the GT Speed could hit 60 mph in 3.4 clicks. Top speed could also increase from 207 mph to almost 210.

The new GT Speed should also provide better fuel economy than its predecessor thanks to start-stop technology and the redesigned all-wheel-drive system with variable torque distribution between the axles.

Upgrades to the chassis and suspension should give the GT Speed a sportier attitude on the road and possibly make it suitable for a bit of fun at the race track on Sundays.

Prices

The GT Speed model should be notably more expensive than the regular Conti GT. With the latter priced from around $240,000, the upcoming GT Speed could fetch in excess of $270,000.

Competition

Aston Martin DB11 S

2018 Aston Martin DB11 S Exterior Spyshots
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While the standard DB11 is no match for the upcoming GT Speed at 600 horsepower, the rumored DB11 S will have what it takes to give the Bentley a run for its money. Spotted on public roads in prototype form, the DB11 S sports minor improvements inside and out. A bit more aerodynamic thanks to a larger splitter and trunk lid spoiler, the DB11 S should hide a more powerful 5.2-liter V-12 under the hood. The twin-turbo unit cranks out 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet in the regular model, but Aston Martin will probably enable it to pump out around 650 horses and 540 pound-feet of twist. It should also be lighter and thus quicker from 0 to 60 mph. However, it won’t be as quick as the GT Speed with a sprint of around 3.5 or 3.6 seconds. Pricing will probably start from around $240,000 before options.

Read our full speculative review of the 2019 Aston Martin DB11 S.

Ferrari Portofino

2018 Ferrari Portofino Exterior High Resolution
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Introduced for the 2018 model year, the Portofino is actually a mid-cycle upgrade to the California T. The name change is the result of significant changes inside and out, which pretty much make the Portofino a new model altogether. The exterior was updated to the company’s recent design language, with sportier front and rear fascias and a more muscular profile. Inside, changes are less obvious, but the grand tourer boasts a larger, 10.2-inch infotainment display, a revised steering wheel, and a new wind deflector. Under the hood, the turbocharged, 3.9-liter V-8 has revised internals, as well as a power boost to 592 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. Charging from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.5 seconds, while top speed is rated at 196 mph. Pricing is expected to start from $220,000, so the Ferrari is actually a bit more affordable than the competition.

Read our full review of the 2018 Ferrari Portofino.

Conclusion

2019 Bentley Continental GT Speed Exterior Spyshots
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The Speed model is a much-needed upgrade to the new Continental GT line. Not only it enables Bentley to compete with higher-revving cars, but it also gives you access to a more powerful grand tourer that also looks more aggressive. The Conti GT is both elegant and sporty in standard guise, which makes it appealing for both sides, but Bentley doesn’t offer that extra aggressiveness some of you might want in a grand tourer. The GT Speed will step in to provide just that, and until the more extreme Supersports arrives, it will reign as the range-topping model.

  • Leave it
    • * Not very different inside and out
    • * Still heavy

Further reading

2018 Bentley Continental GT High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.

2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed.

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Read more Bentley news.

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