2018 Bentley Continental GT Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
January 19, 2018

Reduced to just the convertible and the W-12, the 2018 Bentley Continental GT is still elegant, fast, and fashionable.

The Continental GT returns for 2018 with a reduced lineup of only convertibles as a new coupe is due to arrive as an early 2019 model. The V-8 engine is dropped, leaving only the W-12. We rate the 2018 Bentley Continental GT a 6.8 out of 10 for its timeless appeal as a luxury grand tourer with lots of power, a hand-built feel, all-wheel-drive traction, and stunning looks. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2018 Bentley Continental lineup of droptops consists of just the GT, GT Speed, and, new for 2018, the Supersports. All have the W-12 engine, but it is offered in three states of tune. It makes 568 horsepower in the GT, 615 in the GT Speed, and 700 in the Supersports. All models are fast, and the Supersports can reach 60 mph from a stop in less than four seconds and top out near 200 mph.

In addition to the new Supersports, Bentley introduces a new limited-edition Timeless Series this year, which adds luxury feature content by Mulliner and a Liquid Amber Veneer paint finish.

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The Continental is a big car that weighs close to three tons, but it wears its heft well and looks trimmer than it is. It has the style of a classic grand touring car, with rounded, soft lines and round headlights offset by the sharpness of its side character lines and the lines that define its rear haunches. The convertible top is a high-quality cloth unit that opens or closes in 25 seconds, shuts out the elements well, and further enhances the classic look.

Inside, it’s pure luxury, with an upright design complimented by warm woods, soft leathers, and cold metals. The personality of each individual car is defined by its color palette, though all cars have the look and feel of a handcrafted cabin.

Front seat occupants have good head room and leg room, but elbow space can be tight. Rear seat occupants are pushed together by the needs of the top mechanism and they will want for leg room.

On the road, the Continental GT wears its weight well, too. Power from the W-12 is effortless and the car just flows in a straight line, but it also maintains traction when the roads aren’t dry thanks to standard all-wheel drive. Computer controlled dampers help it both ride well and excel in high-speed sweepers. The weight is most noticeable when pushing the car into tight corners.

Every Continental GT comes well equipped, and Bentley offers a variety of packages to turn up the luxury and let buyers personalize their cars.

This generation of the Continental GT hasn’t been crash tested and doesn’t offer the active safety features that have become common on mainstream cars, let alone high-end luxury cars. With a redesign on the way, that should change soon.

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2018 Bentley Continental GT

Styling

A classic grand tourer with a relaxed but broad-shouldered look, the Bentley Continental is one of the more striking cars on the road today.

The Continental GT exudes the look of a classic grand tourer. Now only a convertible, it has a traditional cloth top that also channels classic lines. It’s striking inside and out, and we rate it an 8 for its excellent exterior and above average interior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The current Bentley Continental GT dates back to 2012 and gradual changes made over the years have all been tasteful. A bold, simple grille sits up front, and you can still see its link to the past. It is flanked by a pair of round headlights on each side, with the larger light inboard. A lower fascia sits below; it is usually dark, but bright mesh is available.

Soft curves flow around the edges, with a sharp character line starting at the front wheels and flowing back to the rear wheels. Another sharp line picks up front there, defining the pronounced rear haunches. It’s a clean, harmonious, and, above all, beautiful look that has stood up over time.

Inside, the design is upright and luxurious. The materials do as much to define the look as anything, with contrasting colors, diamond patterns, soft leather hides, warm woods, and cool metals. The center console divides the cockpit and features an 8.0-inch screen. The wood is bookmatched to provide a consistent appearance. Bentley offers two-tone leather, and the buyer’s choice of those colors can give the interior an entirely different personality from car to car.

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2018 Bentley Continental GT

Performance

Though heavy, the Bentley Continental accelerates briskly, reaches fantastic speeds, and remains composed in corners.

The 2018 Bentley Continental is capable on twisty roads despite its considerable weight and its W-12 engine moves this car with authority. Those factors both contribute to our 7 out of 10 rating for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Bentley offers only the W-12 engine for 2018, but in three states of tune. In its base form in the Continental GT, the 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W-12 produces 568 horsepower. In the GT Speed it makes 615 hp and launches the car from 0-60 mph around 4.0 seconds on its way to a top speed above 190 mph. The new Supersports makes a whopping 700 hp; Bentley has not shared its performance numbers.

All models come with all-wheel drive that uses a Torsen differential to create a 40/60 torque split front-to-rear. It makes the Conti GT capable and stable when the roads aren’t dry, to go with the already refined and composed driving experience.

Considering the car’s mass and length, the road manners are extraordinary. It’s big and somewhat bulky but capable. That’s due in part to the three-mode computer-adjustable shocks. The Continental GT does quite well on long hauls, which is no surprise, but it also feels stable and hunkered down in high-speed sweepers.

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2018 Bentley Continental GT

Comfort & Quality

Interior space is lacking for the size, but the 2018 Bentley Continental is superbly appointed.

Superbly appointed with a hand-built look and feel, the Continental offers a variety of interior colors, a quiet cabin for a convertible, and a true luxury experience, though space is tight. We rate it a 7 for comfort and quality, adding points for the materials quality, the front seats, and the precision of the controls, but subtracting a point for rear-seat space. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Continental’s power cloth convertible top is a high-quality woven unit that does a great job of damping out ambient road noise while also folding up or down in seconds. The interior is simply stunning, with a look that shows meticulous care has been taken in its construction, which is partially by hand. Bentley offers a variety of colors, including four different two-tones, and that’s before customization options. On top of that, buyers have a choice of wood veneers that are book-matched to look the same from side to side. A full-length center console runs from the first row through the second. The chrome trim is also beautiful, highlighted by the knurled look of the Mulliner specification.

Front seat passengers have plenty of space and will be comfortable even on cross-country jaunts, though front seat occupants have less elbow room that you would think in a car this big. For a mid-size car, the rear seat has surprisingly little leg room, and the convertible body style also pushes rear passengers closer together to make room for the top mechanism.

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2018 Bentley Continental GT

Safety

Stout construction and a full array of airbags should make the Bentley Continental fairly safe, but it lacks many active safety features and it will never be crash tested.

Neither of the U.S. safety agencies have or will crash-test the aging, expensive Bentley Continental. We would be sad if they did, for the world would lose a beautiful car. Without crash-test results, we can’t assign a safety rating. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2018 Bentley Continental GT convertible comes with a full set of air bags, as well as a rearview camera. Pop-up roll bars and stout construction (it weighs close to three tons) should make it safer than the average car, but it offers none of the active safety features that have become almost required equipment on high-end cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Porsche Panamera, and Aston Martin DB11. A new coupe is coming soon, though, and a convertible should follow, and those features should be part of the new equation.

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2018 Bentley Continental GT

Features

The 2018 Bentley Continental is pricey and well equipped, but Bentley offers plenty of options to make it pricier.

The Continental GT lineup is reduced to convertibles for 2018 as Bentley readies a new coupe for an early 2019 introduction. Only W-12 models are offered, all are well-equipped, and Bentley lets buyers personalize their cars to their hearts’ content. We rate the Continental an 8 for features based on its long list of standard equipment, its generous list of options, and its plentiful customizing choices. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2018 Continental convertible lineup consists of the GT, GT Speed, and Supersports models. Standard features include leather upholstery, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and an infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, DVD navigation, a wi-fi hotspot, and controls for the climate system and audio functions.

A Premier specification (package) adds a Naim audio system, massaging and ventilated seats, and a valet key.

A variety of Mulliner specifications offer quilted leather upholstery throughout the cabin, knurled chrome on the shifter, turned aluminum trim, a choice of wheels, and drilled alloy pedals, as well as optional lambs-wool rugs. Semi-aniline leather, which is less processed but feels more upscale, is also available.

A Black Edition for the GT Speed features black-finish 21-inch wheels; high-gloss black exterior trim; a contrast color (Hallmark, Beluga, St. James’ Red, Cyber Yellow) on the front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser; red or black painted calipers; carbon fiber interior trim; a sport seat, steering wheel, and other interior trim with contrast colors to match the exterior contrast color; and contrast stitching.

A new Timeless Series takes a luxury focus. It combines existing Mulliner content with Liquid Amber Veneer paint, available for the first time on the Continental. That content includes bright upper and lower grilles, 10-spoke 21-inch wheels, GT sport seats with “Timeless Series” headrest stitching and massage and ventilation, puddle lights, a two-tone sport steering wheel, and treadplates, plus veneered side panels as a no-cost option.

Other options consist of carbon ceramic brakes, a bright lower grille, and numerous colors for the exterior and trims for the interior.

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2018 Bentley Continental GT

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Bentley Continental is hard on gas but V-8 models are more forgiving at the pump.

With only the W-12, the 2018 Bentley Continental guzzles fuel. Active cylinder deactivation helps limit the damage, but it’s still thirsty, and we rate the Continental of 4 for fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The W-12 can shut down six cylinders under light load conditions to conserve fuel, but the EPA still rates it at a very inefficient 12 mpg city, 20 highway, 14 combined.

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$236,100
MSRP based on GT Convertible
 
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6.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 4
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