It’s said to be “the definitive Gran Tourer”

Bentley has already debuted its all-new Continental GT, but the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is the first time this high-end Gran Touring machine has been seen in the metal. The 2018 Continental GT marks the third generation for the storied nameplate in modern times. It launched back in 2003 after the Volkswagen Group acquired Bentley in 1998. The second generation brought big improvements in 2013. Relatively minor changes along the way have kept the Conti from stagnating. None of those changes seem to reach the gravitas and refinement of the Conti’s latest iteration. Bentley definitely exceeded expectations.

The 2018 Continental’s exterior design takes cues from Bentley’s EXP 10 Speed 6 concept and the interior’s fixtures can be traced to the automaker’s new Bentayga SUV. But neither are cut-and-paste as the Continental carves its own twisty road through the land of luxury. Returning from the second generation is the Conti’s most formidable powerplant: the 6.0-liter W-12. It now produces a whopping 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque – an increase of 44 horses and 133 pound-feet. Why? Well, this isn’t the exact version found in the second-gen Conti, but rather, the updated 6.0-liter found in the Bentayga. An AWD system keeps power seamlessly flowing, while Bentley’s Electronic Active Roll Control continually adjusts the firmness of the anti-roll bars using 48-volt electronics. A new three-chamber air suspension further enhances the ride. Inside, the Continental boasts two massive screens and more leather and wood than a forest full of cows. There’s plenty more to ogle at, so keep reading for more details.

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Bentley’s Ultimate Gran Tourer

Photos hardly do justice to the 2018 Bentley Continental. Its body lines are sultry and well executed. They remain familiar to the Continental heritage, but certainly push the design envelope further toward the next decade. Its front fascia with its quad round lights and large grille translate nicely into the more swept-back look. Bentley says its aim was to combine the comfort of a Gran Tourer with the performance of a dedicated sports car. The more athletic appearance certainly helps translate that theme. The rear haunches especially give the Conti a planted, rear-drive stance, while its long hood, rearward cab, and massive 22-inch wheels make it appropriate for Bruce Wayne’s part-time gig.

Bentley Launches Third-Generation Continental GT and It's Gorgeous! High Resolution Interior
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The interior continues the exterior’s air of sophistication with tons of visible electronics and an obsessively detailed finishings. Starting from behind the wheel, the Conti boasts a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with integrated night vision. The center stack features a gasp-inducing rotating section with three sides. One simply continues the trim from the rest of the dash, the second hosts three gauges (a compass, an outside thermometer, and a chronograph timer), and the third is another 12.3-inch HD display with just about every feature currently available to modern automobiles, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For the folks who find this rotating business a bit too flashy, Bentley will build your Continental with a fixed version of the 12.3-inch screen.

The interior continues the exterior’s air of sophistication with tons of visible electronics and an obsessively detailed finishings

Other features include a head-up display, Adaptive cruise control, Matrix Beam Headlights, and a 650-Watt, 10-speaker sound system. For audiophiles, Bentley offers a Bang & Olufsen system with 16 speakers pumping 1,500 Watts and a Naim system with 18 speakers and a whopping 2,200-Watts of power. The Naim system even has so-called Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats.

Bentley Launches Third-Generation Continental GT and It's Gorgeous! High Resolution Exterior
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Visual Comparison: Bentley Continental GT
Bentley Launches Third-Generation Continental GT and It's Gorgeous! High Resolution Exterior
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Under the hood is Bentley’s new 6.0-liter W-12. This twin-turbocharged gasoline engine produces 626 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 664 pound-feet of torque between 1,350 and 4,500 rpm. To classify the W-12 as a torque monster would be an understatement. The engine is paired with a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic with lighting-quick shifts. The gearbox then turns the full-time AWD system that actually isn’t full time. In fact, in normal driving, power is sent only to the rear wheels. Only when wheelspin is detected does the center differential automatically and seamlessly sent power to the front wheels – all without input needed from the driver. And when it comes to gentle cruising, the W-12 features cylinder deactivation to conserve that premium fuel. That’s to that and a large tank, the Conti will travel slightly more than 500 miles on a fill-up.

The 2018 Bentley Continental is a natural performer, with the sprint to 60 mph happening in just 3.6 seconds and its top speed hovering around 207 mph

The 2018 Bentley Continental is a natural performer, with the sprint to 60 mph happening in just 3.6 seconds and its top speed hovering around 207 mph. And just to think – the Conti is just as happy eating endless stretches of highway as it is blasting down an empty runway at full tilt.

Bentley Launches Third-Generation Continental GT and It's Gorgeous! High Resolution Exterior
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Naturally, the W-12 won’t be the only powertrain available in the Continental. A V-8 will come soon and a hybrid version is rumored to be in the works. Engineering such a hybrid system that will maintain the Continental’s character will be a challenge, according to reports citing insider information.

Holding the 2018 Continental to the road is a new air suspension match with those 48-volt-controlled anti-roll bars

Holding the 2018 Continental to the road is a new air suspension match with those 48-volt-controlled anti-roll bars. The air suspension uses three-chamber bags for a more widely variable range of ride characteristics. The anti-roll bars work in conjunction with the air suspension to quell any body roll in corners while keeping a supple ride over rougher pavement. Braking is handled by massive iron rotors and one-piece, six-piston calipers up front. Bentley even claims the rotors are the largest iron rotors on a production car.

Bentley Launches Third-Generation Continental GT and It's Gorgeous! High Resolution Exterior
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Bentley has been quiet on pricing for the 2018 Continental. We expect that information to hit the interwebz before the 2018 Conti hits showrooms later this year. Still, don’t bet on a price drop. Bentley currently charges $214,000 for the second-generation, 2017 Continental, we expect to see an MSRP around $220,000. The V-8 could have a price lower than that – perhaps around $190,000, but the hybrid version could see a sticker above $230,000. For us in the U.S., the third-generation Continental will arrive in 2018 as a 2019 model.

References

2018 Bentley Continental GT

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

The all-new Continental GT made its global debut at the IAA 2017 in Frankfurt today.

Press release

Commenting on its unveiling, Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, said: “Today is a defining moment for Bentley Motors. Today we build on our recent success story and look to the future with a new car that will set new standards in luxury grand touring. Today we introduce a car that is the ultimate in extraordinary design, technology and innovation.”

Bentley Launches Third-Generation Continental GT and It's Gorgeous! High Resolution Exterior
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“When Bentley launched the original Continental GT in 2003 it established an entirely new market segment – the modern luxury grand tourer. Today, I’m convinced that we are redefining this segment again. It is an honour to replace a car that has – for 14 years – been the benchmark against which all other grand tourers are judged.”

The third generation of the legendary Bentley Continental GT is designed, engineered and handcrafted in Great Britain, ensuring the highest levels of attention to detail, artistry and cutting-edge technology are blended together to create the finest grand tourer ever produced.

Bentley Launches Third-Generation Continental GT and It's Gorgeous! High Resolution Exterior
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Visual Comparison: Bentley Continental GT

The new Bentley Continental GT is available to order now with customer deliveries starting in Q2 next year and Bentley has confirmed that a plug-in hybrid model will be available in the future.

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Press release
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