When I drove the Bentley Continental GT V8, it didn’t take long to realise that it is this model you should be looking at buying if you’re in the market for a luxury GT car. While the W12 carries slightly higher performance, the increased agility from the low-weight V8 far outweighs the added straight-line speed.
Well, that was true at the time. But now Bentley has revealed the GT Speed, which boosts the power of the W12 from 626 to 650 horsepower and shortens the time it takes to reach 60mph – a measly 3.6 seconds. The top speed is now comfortably into two-tonne digits at 208mph, too.
But how do you mask the increased weight that sits beyond your feet? With technology, of course. The car now features a rear-wheel steering system, coined to be far more active than the Flying Spur’s arrangement. It also sports a new electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, and more power than usual is sent to the rear wheels than before.
To allow you to tap into this newfound agility, the electronic stability control is far more lenient, allowing more slip than before, and of course, you can turn it off to be in complete control. Active anti-roll bars keep the movement of weight in check, and a three-chamber air suspension setup maintains that Bentley ride.
As we know, Bentley isn’t afraid to hurl some huge brakes at its cars, and the Speed is no different with 10-piston calipers mounted up front, and 4-pistons at the rear. These, normally iron, can be swapped out for carbon ceramics to cut 33kg out of the car’s all-important unsprung mass.
As you can see from the photos, the Speed has undergone subtle design changes including new 22-inch wheels, a quick nip and tuck on the front and rear bumpers, and slender side skirts.
It would be silly to describe the inside, with Bentley being able to bring any customer’s designs to life. But in the photos we’ve been shown there’s plenty more Alcantara, and enough carbon fibre to feed Hamilton for a year.
Prices are yet to be confirmed, but it will come as no surprise that a well-specced version will be well into the £200,000s when it’s released late 2021.