Bentley Continental 2021 review

The Continental GT is a glamorous and luxurious coupe and convertible

£69,917
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Luxurious interior
  • Great to drive
  • Looks superb

Cons

  • Only for those with deep pockets
  • Very ostentatious
  • Not a lot of rear space
  • MPG

    20 - 25

  • CO2

    263 - 308 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model Review

If you were asked to think of a luxury car, there’s a good chance that the type of vehicle you would be thinking of would be a Bentley. These models are only for those with deep pockets and not shy to stand out on the road, but have become increasingly athletic to drive in recent years, rather than just being seen as a ‘barge’ like they might have been in the past. 

And aside from Bentley’s new Bentayga SUV, the model that’s proven especially popular for the Crewe-based firm over the years is the Continental GT. While the ‘Continental’ name has been widely used by this marque over the years, it became the GT in 2003 and was the first new model released under the ownership of the Volkswagen Group, which took over Bentley in 1998. 

It was also the first ‘mass-produced’ Bentley, with the model being produced in much greater numbers than was common from the firm – helping them to be slightly more affordable, though while still retaining the quality and hand-finished steps that had always been used.

The model would be followed by the GTC convertible and also a sporty ‘Speed’ model, before being heavily revised in 2012 (Bentley would call it a second generation), with the main change being the introduction of a more affordable and lighter V8 model. 

 
Latest model

The third-generation Continental GT was unveiled in August 2017 and represented a big step forward from its predecessor, with the integration of a raft of new technology.

It sits on the same platform as the Porsche Panamera, and comes with a new 48-volt ride system that ensures a strong blend of performance and comfort, with other technology including a brilliant revolving touchscreen system. Its monstrous 6.0-litre W12 has also been reworked, while a new eight-speed automatic gearbox allows for quicker gear changes. 

Since its introduction, a new V8 model has also been introduced and new special editions created with the firm’s exclusive Mulliner division. 

Value for money

If you’re looking at a Bentley Continental GT, there’s a good chance that value for money isn’t the top priority. That’s a good thing as this luxury model is by no means cheap, with models starting from well in excess of £150,000, and that’s before you’ve gone down the extensive optional extra route – which you’ll want to do

Things fare slightly better on the used market, though, with new-shape 2018 examples available from around £120,000, which will buy an example with around 20,000 miles on the clock. That said, if you want a slice of luxury on more of a budget, first generation GTs are now available from as little as £15,000, with even lower mileage examples available from less than £20,000. 

Looks and image

When it comes to something like a Bentley, it’s an image you’ll either absolutely love or find a bit too ostentatious. With imposing chrome styling, the large round headlights and a sleek and dramatic shape, it’s immediately recognisable as something rather special. The latest generation is even better, too, with even more presence and a brilliant combination of sportiness and elegance. 

The inside is also a rather stunning affair, with the model equipped with materials of the highest quality – as you’d expect from a car of this price. It’s packed with soft leather upholstery, while a choice of wood veneers and other finishes are available, and truly makes this cabin feel special. Another highlight is the rotating central touchscreen, which is great to use, but can be replaced with traditional analogue dials if you’re wanting a less high-tech look. 

There are few better ways to travel than behind the wheel of this Bentley, too, which is just as refined and powerful as you would hope for, while a fantastic adaptive air suspension system does a remarkable job of ironing out imperfections in the road. Yet flick the car into ‘Sport’ mode and the car becomes immediately more responsive and aggressive, and actually rather good fun to drive. It’s this Bentley’s Jekyll and Hyde-like personality that makes it all the more impressive. 

Video review

Space and practicality

As its ‘GT’ name suggests, this Bentley is designed to be a grand tourer – a car that you can easily drive hundreds of miles in with ease. And it certainly impresses in that respect, not least because of how surprisingly practical it is. There’s an excellent 358 litres of boot space that can easily accommodate some weekend away bags, and also, more likely, a golf bag. It’s also a rather useful shape, while a ski hatch in the back seats allows room for longer items to be carried. 

Though the GT is a four-seater, rear space isn’t especially generous, and it’s not somewhere adults would want to travel for long journeys, though there’s enough room for shorter trips. 

Engines

There are a choice of two engines on the GT – the sublime twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine or a lighter 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Both come with all-wheel-drive too, along with a dual-clutch eight-speed automatic gearbox.

We’ll start with the W12, which is an engine Bentley is renowned for. It produces a huge 626bhp and 900Nm of torque, and despite the car having a gross weight of more than 2.5 tonnes, can still go from 0-60mph in just 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 207mph. 

Next is the V8, which serves up 542bhp and 770Nm of torque – allowing for a 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 198mph. 

Running costs

This Bentley’s running costs will not be for the faint hearted, with even the more ‘efficient’ V8 returning 23.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 268g/km, Things get worse on the W12, though – a fuel economy figure of 20.8mpg, with CO2 emissions of 308g/km. 

Servicing, insurance and taxation is also likely to be steep as well, though all this is likely to come as no surprise. 

Things to look out for

Given the Continental GT isn’t a big-seller, it’s hard to gauge just how reliable it will be, though one thing that shouldn’t be knocked is its fit-and-finish, which leads the way in this market. If buying a used example, it’s worth getting an independent expert to check the car, and also ensure maintenance is thorough and detailed – this isn’t a car that you can neglect servicing. 

Rivals

The ‘GT’ class remains as competitive as ever, and if you’re looking at this Bentley, other models worth considering include the Aston Martin DB11, Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ferrari GTC4 Lusso. Slightly more affordable options include the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and BMW 8 Series/M8, though these can’t compete with the Continental when it comes to luxury. 

Depreciation

Depreciation should definitely be something to be aware of with the Continental GT, and given its high price, there’s plenty of money for it to lose over the years. That said, given its desirability and badge appeal, it won’t depreciate quite as heavily as some of its rivals, though it’s still something that should be factored into ownership. 

Which Continental GT to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

4.0 V8 2dr Auto [City Spec]

Most MPG

4.0 V8 2dr Auto [City Spec]

Fastest model (0-60)

6.0 W12 Speed 2dr Auto

Trims explained

Trims explained Bentley offers one main standard specification, with customers then able to choose various optional packs, which often prove desirable on the used market. Standard equipment highlights are as follows.

Continental GT

All Continental GTs come with an impressive level of equipment, including full Matrix LED headlights, acoustic glass, adaptive air suspension, 21-inch alloy wheels and full Nappa leather upholstery. It also comes with an Alcantara headliner, electric front seats, an electric steering column and multi-zone climate control. Elsewhere you get a rotating 12.3-inch touchscreen display with satellite navigation, Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay, along with a 10-speaker sound system, keyless entry, park assist and a reversing camera. Standard safety equipment also includes autonomous emergency braking, exit warning, pre-sense rear and blind spot monitoring.

From £151,800

Summary

  1. Luxurious interior
  2. Brilliant blend of performance and refinement
  3. Plenty of technology included
  4. Expensive to buy and run
  5. W12 and V8 engines available
  6. Roomier than you might expect
  7. Bold image
  8. Plenty of car and features for your money
  9. Feels special to drive and be in
  10. An outstanding GT car

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