We’ll start with the looks, because that’s what will stop passers-by in their tracks as soon as the first Continental GT arrives in our showroom. Under the direction of director Stefan Sielaff, Bentley’s design team has taken all the visual cues from the previous Continental and added a touch of swaggering sensuality, with hints of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. The signature matrix grille is now more pronounced, the nose lower and bonnet extended to be more expressive of the power beneath; meanwhile the side profile is more curvaceous and the rear haunch more muscular than ever. The entire side pressing of the new Continental GT is now sharply defined in Super Formed aluminium, the first production car in the world to feature such a large Super Formed panel.
The twin headlamps are there, but now feature a new diamond facet design that was apparently inspired by hand-cut crystal. The Bentley’s all-new platform has also given the design team freedom to emphasise the ‘prestige mass’ by increasing the length between the base of the windscreen and the centreline of the front wheel. At the rear, the taillights are now ellipses, echoing the shape of the exhaust finishers beneath. Overall, it’s still recognisably a Continental GT, but more emotive in the visual messages it sends.
Inside the team has maintained the same high level – there are beautiful touches of craftsmanship everywhere, like the Côtes de Geneve knurling on the centre console, the diamond-in-diamond quilted upholstery and the sweep of flawless veneer that runs the full width of the dashboard. For the first time on a Bentley, the driver’s information panel is now fully-digital, with digital chrome bezels that shine and reflect exactly as traditional dials would.
But wait – where’s the obligatory retina-quality digital display? Fire up the deep bass of the W12 and with delicious synchronicity a veneered panel shifts back, then rotates to reveal a three-sided display, one of the sides being a 12.3" screen. Alternatively, choose the third of the display sides and you’ll enjoy three old-school analogue dials to remind you of Bentley’s long heritage as the king of grand tourers.