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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
standard all-wheel drive maximizes traction under all conditions
Bentley has fitted the GTC with additional structural reinforcements
As quick as it may be in a straight line…the GTC never feels agile”
Car and Driver
The 2009 Bentley Continental GT and GTC models are powered by a unique 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, W-12 engine outputting 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.
“This massive engine whisks the big Bentley from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds en route to a 12.8-second quarter-mile at 108 mph—not quite as quick as the CL600, but still good enough to match the Audi R8 supercar,” says Edmunds.
“Even with 5500 pounds to haul around and all-wheel drive, the Continental's thrust is capable of chirping tires as it hurtles you effortlessly to the horizon or merge lane,” reports Automotive.com. They add, “always smooth, it builds power progressively and without harshness, characteristics displayed also by the transmission as the car lunges forward to a terminal velocity of more than 190 mph.”
“Ample, smooth power is available immediately from a stop, and the standard all-wheel drive maximizes traction under all conditions,” says ConsumerGuide. "The all-wheel drive pretty much ensures that no amount of throttle will rotate the tail," reports Car and Driver. "Push hard and all you ever get is understeer."
The GT’s transmission features six forward gears and paddle shift controls. Drivers can choose shift quality from comfort and sport driving modes, or change gears manually without a clutch pedal, through the paddles or the shifter lever. ConsumerGuide Automotive says, “The automatic transmission shifts smoothly in normal driving and more sharply under heavy throttle. There's a bit of a delay before it downshifts for passing, but power arrives in abundance once it does.”
Scrubbing speed from such a hefty car could be difficult, but of course the Bentley is up to the task. “Slowing from high speeds requires strong brakes, and the Continental delivers as smoothly and progressively as it builds momentum. Simply press on the pedal, and the harder you press the sooner you'll stop,” says Automotive.com. If the stock 16-inch front discs aren’t enough, Bentley has available carbon-ceramic brakes on GT models with 20-inch wheels.
The 2009 Bentley Continental GT rides very well in all circumstances, blunting any bump with sheer mass. An independent air suspension with computer-controlled shocks and a three-mode ride control called Continuous Damping Control (CDC) are standard equipment.
Edmunds editors “found the Bentley Continental GTC to be a tremendously dynamic drive, while remaining buttoned down throughout. To make up for lost body stiffness due to the lack of a fixed roof, Bentley has fitted the GTC with additional structural reinforcements.” Car and Driver further commends the GTC's handling, reporting "minimal body roll, and lateral grip is tenacious," although they criticize the steering for being "heavy and a little leaden."
Need we mention mileage? “Fuel economy, should anyone care, is EPA estimated at 10 mpg city/17 highway and 13 combined,” reports Edmunds. And Automotive.com says, “Discussions on CO2 emissions should be avoided, even if they are slightly improved for 2008.”
The 2009 Bentley Continental GT accelerates quickly and guzzles fuel—as you would expect—yet it outhandles some smaller sporty coupes easily.