2014 Bentley Continental Expert Review
By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
What's New for 2014
Among the handful of the world's true ultra-luxury vehicles, the 2014 Bentley Continental GT is master of its domain. Offered only as a coupe or convertible (the Flying Spur sedan becomes its own model line this year), the Continental GT offers excesses in the areas of luxury and speed. Speed variants offer scorching performance without sacrificing the luxury heritage that draws so many of the mega-rich to the brand. The handmade coupe and convertible are meticulously crafted with skills belonging to a grander generation, while the 8-cylinder and 12-cylinder engines infuse the Continental with 21st-century technology, creating a driving experience even a Rolls-Royce Wraith, Maserati GranTurismo or Aston Martin DB9 cannot duplicate.
You'll Like This Car If...
If the quality and elegance of a bygone era holds strong appeal, the 2014 Bentley Continental GT stands as your best choice. Sumptuous interiors, regal exteriors and cutting-edge technology marry the best of the old and new in a car that is the envy of all.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If the word "budget" is any part of your financial vocabulary, there are better ways to attain the kind of performance offered by the $200,000-plus Bentley Continental GT and still feel welcome in the world of the one percent. A Mercedes-Benz CL, BMW 6 Series or Audi S5 all make excellent choices.
For 2014, the Bentley Flying Spur departs the Continental family to become its own model. A new GT V8 S trim is added, bringing a more sporting attitude to the V8 powered cars.
Driving the Continental
The 2014 Bentley Continental GT isn't petite, so it needs the robust power of its V8 and W12 engines to propel it from zero to 60 mph in less than...
... five seconds and reach its 200-mph top speed (Speed models go even faster). While these speeds do rival some of the best sports cars in the world, the Continental is not necessarily about the pure pursuit of speed. Quiet as a mouse on the road, the Continental GT prefers to pamper its occupants rather than punish them with an overly firm ride, the lamentable hallmark of so many sports-oriented cars. The handling is adept but not razor sharp, the all-wheel drive provides excellent grip useful on both dry pavement and wet, and the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission is seamless and precise, especially in sport mode. From driveway to highway and back, the Continental GT for 2014 is a joy to drive.
NAIM is to British Audio what names like Macintosh and Bose are to the American market. Custom tailored just for the Bentley Continental GT, the sound is simply jaw-dropping and may be the one sound sweeter than that coming from beneath the Continental GT's hood.
INTERIOR FIT AND FINISH
If you want to see what's so great about a hand-built coach, take one look inside the 2014 Bentley Continental GT. Every surface, knob and switch has a tactile feel to it you won't find in lesser cars with plentiful plastic pieces, an attribute we wish more premium luxury models possessed.
2014 Bentley Continental Details
If you've ever wondered what sets a $200,000 vehicle apart from a $20,000 vehicle, step inside a 2014 Bentley Continental GT. The fit and finish are nearly without peer. The interior is leather, of course. But it's not just any leather. Only the finest, most premium and most blemish-free hides are selected. Metal and wood abound. Everything breathes quality, from the Breitling analog clock in the center stack to the diamond-pattern hide on the interior door panels. The two rear seats in the coupe and convertible are tight for adults.
Some cars are described as having "presence," an essence that exceeds mere physical size. Bentley's Continental GT for 2014 abounds in it. The Bentley Continental GT coupe and convertible are actually no longer than the average Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, yet their wide bodies, huge tires and low slung stance give them the appearance of being much more substantial. These two are the real lookers of the Bentley lineup with their muscular curves that run front to back, defined best in their exaggerated rear haunches where the sloping roof and sides intersect.
Needless to say, every Bentley is exceedingly well equipped. Some of the more prominent features include a high-resolution touchscreen command center with navigation, massive 20-inch wheels, bi-xenon projector headlights, an 8-speaker sound system, and a power trunk (or "boot," as it's called across the Pond). GT Convertibles have a power-operated 4-layer insulated roof. Speed models have a more powerful version of Bentley's already-potent 12-cylinder engine. Though parking sensors are standard, surprisingly, a rear-view camera is not. That's a shame on a car costing as much as a house, and is a feature highly advised.
Aside from the much-advised rearview camera, other options of note include the premium Naim audio system, an iPod interface, heated steering wheel, radar-based adaptive cruise control, carbon-ceramic brakes, and lamb's wool rugs. GT and GT Convertible models can be equipped with 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. We're quite fond of the electronically adjustable neck warmer in the convertible models, perfect for those cool nights when you want to cruise top down under starry skies.
Under the Hood
Power for all 2014 Bentley Continental GTs, save the GT V8 and V8 S, comes from a twin-turbocharged W12 engine mated to 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. The twin-turbocharged V8 is a powerhouse in its own right, making 500 (521 in the S) horsepower and offering improved fuel economy compared with the 12-cylinder engines. All Bentley Continental GTs feature all-wheel drive, which enhances traction. The 8-speed transmission helps fuel economy, but every model except the V8 Continental GT coupe is still subject to a gas guzzler tax. The Continental is also E85-compatible.
2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 and GT V8 Convertible
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
500 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
487 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/high fuel economy: 15/24 mpg (coupe), 14/24 mpg (convertible)
2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S and GT V8 S Convertible
521 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
502 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24 mpg (coupe), 14/24 mpg (convertible)
2014 Bentley Continental GT and GT Convertible
6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12
567 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg (coupe), 12/20 mpg (convertible)
2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed and GT Speed Convertible
6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12
626 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
605 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg (coupe) 12/20 mpg (convertible)
Regardless of which 2014 Bentley Continental you choose, be prepared to write a sizable check. The least expensive model – the Continental GT V8 – has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $187,500. The GT V8 Convertible starts around $207,000. The higher-powered Speed versions add tens of thousands of dollars. Options can also add cubic dollars, with some packages costing as much as a new economy car. The most expensive trim is the GT Speed Convertible at just over $246,500. At these prices, the Bentley Continental is less expensive than the Rolls-Royce Wraith, which starts around $290,000, but higher than just about everything else in it class except some AMG performance editions of the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class. As such a niche vehicle, precise resale values are difficult to predict for the 2014 Bentley Continental GT.
To compare current market prices, check out KBB.com's car classifieds to view the new and used
Bentley Continental vehicles for sale near you.