2015 Bentley Continental GT3-R brings race pace to the road
A high-velocity homage to the firm's successful GT3 competition model, the 2015 Bentley Continental GT3-R makes its public debut at this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed. Matching unique visual elements with more horsepower - not to mention a huge 220-pound weight reduction compared to a Continental GT V8 S -- the limited-edition GT3-R will be Bentley's fastest-accelerating street-legal model ever when deliveries start late this year.
Finished in Glacier White, only 300 Continental GT3-R models will be built for the entire world. Each handcrafted unit will start off at the main assembly facility in Crewe before transferring to the Bentley Motorsport division for its finishing touches. "To be a true Bentley, the GT3-R had to be the most luxurious track-inspired Grand Tourer ever," commented Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, "and this car pushes our trademark combination of luxury and performance to a new level."
At the heart of the Continental GT3-R is a modified version of the firm's new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that is used in the GT3 following its debut in the 2015 Flying Spur sedan. Higher-boost/lag-banishing force feeders, revamped control software and a titanium exhaust system that emboldens its bark while trimming nearly 15 pounds raise horsepower in the GT3-R version from 500 to 572 and pump peak torque from 487 to 516 lb-ft - all of which is on hand from just 1,700 rpm. Backing this potent motivator is a paddle-shiftable ZF 8-speed automatic with more aggressive gearing and recalibrated mapping. Despite tipping the scales at 4,839 pounds, those powertrain tweaks still allow the GT3-R to sprint from 0-60 mph in a Bentley-best 3.6 seconds although the lower-ratio cogs do limit its top end to a relatively modest 170 mph.
The GT3-R's chassis benefits from a similar upgrading effort aimed at making this "the most dynamic, responsive and involving Bentley road car ever." A more aggressively tuned version of the air suspension system from the Continental GT V8 S seamlessly interfaces with a sport-spec variation of the Electronic Stability Control while a modified version of the standard all-wheel drive system introduces rear-wheel torque vectoring for the first time to help it put the power down more effectively in corners. Stopping power also gets a boost courtesy of Bentley's ultra-efficient Carbon Silicon Carbide (CSiC) braking system.
Raising its exterior profile, the Continental GT3-R features a custom front splitter and fixed-position rear wing, both rendered in gloss-finish carbon fiber. That racing influence is further reinforced by a GT3-look vented hood, gloss black accents on its headlamp bezels, grille, window trim and bumper strips plus two-tone green graphics that add dynamic emphasis to its side panels. Rounding out the mix is a set of lightweight 21-inch forged-alloy wheels -- also finished in gloss black - wrapped in sticky Pirelli performance rubber. That competition motif extends to the cabin of the new Continental GT3-R, as well. Offering seating for two in deeply bolstered but comfort-focused shell-style buckets, it features Beluga black leather, diamond-quilted Alcantara and bright green accent elements set off with a bounty of carbon fiber bits and GT3-R badging on the center console, dash and door-sill plates.
Order books for the 2015 Bentley Continental GT3-R are now open and 99 of them are slated for the American market. While final pricing has yet to be announced, we anticipate Bentley's quickest-ever road rager will likely sticker somewhere between $325,000 and $350,000.
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