Pro athletes cling to its seductive lines, and hip-hop deities are devoted to its stunning 12-cylinder power. It’s no wonder the 2009 Bentley Continental GT has single-handedly revoked the Bentley franchise’s age-old reputation as a dowager sedan, and replaced that rep with a coolness unattainable by, say, today’s Rolls-Royce lineup.
The 2009 Bentley Continental GT lineup includes four distinct models. The Continental GT two-door coupe is complemented by a higher-powered version dubbed the GT Speed. A convertible Continental GTC is also offered in a Speed edition. The four coupes and convertibles start at a base price of $179,200, rising above $203,600 for the Continental GT Speed. The Bentley Continental GTC Speed provided to TheCarConnection.com for this hands-on road test (a 2010 model, with performance exceptions noted in this review) carried a sticker price of $276,405.
The Continental GT coupe and GTC convertible put out distinctly different vibes, though both are two-doors derived from the Continental Flying Spur four-door. They share lower body panels, front ends, and trunks, but the elegant, massive lines of the pillarless coupe version come off more enticingly modern to TheCarConnection.com’s editors. The Conti GT simply looks smaller with the roof in place, and more sexy, too. The vivid creases alongside its body above its front and rear fenders find some relief in the coupe style; with the comely lid snipped off, the convertible sits a little more thickly on its haunches. It turns into more of a boulevardier shape, though it shares the coupe’s circular headlamps, chromed matrix grille, and LED taillamps. Inside, it’s a traditional feel, with Bentley logos, chrome and wood trim on 24-hour watch across the Continental GT’s wide twin-binnacle dash. In the middle of the lavish trim sits a real Breitling timepiece, mingling with chrome air vent pulls, rich leather and wood, and delicate chrome detailing. The paneled-library effect is hushed even more in Mulliner Driving Specification, with its diamond-quilted leather seats, a knurled shift knob, and a three-spoke steering wheel. Speed versions of the coupe adopt the Mulliner trim as well as dark-finished metal trim, a rear spoiler, and wider exhaust pipes. In all, the Bentley Continental GT’s meaty outline may not be timeless like some Ferraris, but it is imposing: one look and you know, this will be a driving event, not an ordinary commute.