It’s been over a decade since Bentley introduced us to the Continental GT, and despite a whole proliferation of engine variants and body styles over the years (including a substantially updated range in 2011), it was time for the British automaker to roll out another set of updates for its most successful model.
Exterior Evolution for the Continental GT
The 2016 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 emphasize 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.
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 colors 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. An all-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.
Brightware elements across the console have also been updated. The driver’s instrument panel receives new dials and graphics for a refreshed, more contemporary look, and the beauty of the Bentley’s new interior is now illuminated by LEDs. The center console also features a new black gear lever surround, which unifies 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 colors join the Continental range for 2015 – Shortbread and Camel.
Furthermore, the headlining of GT V8 S, GT W12 and Speed coupe models are now available in Alcantara, color matched to all 17 of the available interior hide colors.
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 567HP to 582HP, and from 516 pound-feet to 531, to maintain the model’s reputation of effortless performance.
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.
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 the 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 2016 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 616HP / 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.
The updated 2016 models will be unveiled and displayed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, with deliveries starting this summer.