Bentley Continental GT – 2003

Folk were puzzled when Volkswagen bought Rolls-Royce Motors . . . without the right to use the name. The Rolls-Royce trademark had been sold to BMW in a cut-throat side deal. VW saved face by insisting that it only really wanted the sporty Bentley marque (not true!) and has proceeded to prove the point by producing a series of beautifully designed and appointed cars that are seriously fast.

The Continental GT replaced Rolls-Royce Motors’ Continental R and T models. This two-door 2+2 grand touring coupe was built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Phaeton, sharing many components with the upmarket luxury saloon, but the GT is a superb modern realization of Bentley tradition, showing that Volkswagen understands and appreciates the traditional character that made the marque great.

The GT has a 6 litre W12 engine with twin turbochargers. This innovative motor has four banks of three cylinders arranged in a double-V shape, driving a common crankshaft. It’s a seriously powerful unit well capable of delivering the high top speed required of a Bentley. The average owner may be more interested in rapid acceleration and silky-smooth cruising, but still likes to know that his Bentley is as fast as pretty much anything but the most exotic supercar.

The Continental GT was the founding father for quite a dynasty. The Continental Flying Spur four-door saloon car, developed from the GT, appeared in 2005, as did the drop-dead gorgeous GTC convertible with a powered hood produced by Karmann in Germany. The GT Speed model hit the scene in 2007 – the first production Bentley capable of exceeding 200 mph (322 km/h). A Continental GTZ rebodied by Italian style master Zagato was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2008. A CTC Speed convertible followed in 2009, along with a Flying Spur Speed. Take your pick!

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

UK

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

2003

ENGINE:

5,998 cc W12 Twin Turbo

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 198 mph (318 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.6 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The new Continental Supersports is the first Bentley with pioneering FlexFuel technology that allows the car to run on petrol and/or biofuel (ethanol) — and it’s the fastest road-going Bentley ever.

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