Bentley Continental GT: Continental shift
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It may be the best of British, but there was a reason Bentley chose Singapore as the second country in the world to see the all-new Continental GT just days after the global launch at the Frankfurt motor show.
The third-generation grand tourer received unanimous praise at the motor show, and has undergone a major redesign over the outgoing model.
It takes 100 hours to build a Continental GT at the Crewe, England, plant, and the car is designed in Britain.
But the decision to have the Singapore reveal was made not only because the Singapore GP was being held the same weekend, but also because of the strength of the Asia Pacific market for Bentley.
The Continental GT is now on sale in New Zealand, with the first customer deliveries scheduled towards the end of quarter one, Bentley NZ's brand manager Derek Bennett told Driven at the Singapore reveal.
The price will be around $360,000 but the Continental GT has had a major overhaul in the looks and technology department, plus a number of firsts.
The major innovation is the use of the aviation industry's superforming technology for the body. The system has aluminium heated to 500C, allowing designers to create more complex panels.
The Bentley is the first production car in the world to use the technique, with it implemented specifically and superbly on the new rear haunches of the Continental GT.
This technique also helps make it 80kg lighter than the previous model, to weigh in at 2244kg.
It also has an upgraded 6-litre twin-turbo, W12 engine and is paired with a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The engine produces 467kW of power and 900Nm of torque.
It has a top speed of 333km/h hitting 0-100km in 3.7 seconds.
The GT is 4850mm long, 2187mm wide and 1405mm high, making it lower and longer than the previous model.
This has enabled the design team under Jean Paul Gregory to create a smaller, yet dynamic bonnet, and it the appearance of sitting low on its haunches -- ready to pounce at traffic lights.
Inside, the Continental gets a revolutionary three-sided rotating display, nicknamed the Toblerone (see Driven.co.nz).
When you get in the car there is no screen, so it looks like a seamless dashboard. But once the engine is turned on, the display rotates to show the touchscreen or three analogue dials.
Inside, there is also a new diamond in diamond quilt while outside the LED headlights are designed like cut crystal glass, with stunning affect.
The jet fighter-looking rear of Continental resembles the company's 10 Speed 6 concept, and that's due to Gregory being part of that vehicle's design team.
Gregory had an ethos for the look of the Bentley Continental GT, as he told us in Singapore. "You fall in the love with the exterior, but the interior is like a marriage."
And seeing the Continental GT in Singapore, that's a great analogy. The lower bonnet gives it a more sports performance appearance than a weekend vehicle. It's certainly love at firstsight.
Inside, the quality of fixtures and refined styling makes you want to stay in it for the long term.
I can't wait to take it for test drive when it arrives in New Zealand next year and hear the W12 engine in action, rather than the F1 cars roaring metres away from the GT in Singapore.