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2016 Bentley Continental

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2016 Bentley Continental Expert Review

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The most popular member of the Bentley family, the Continental GT range of Coupe and Convertible models -- V8, V8 S, W12 and Speed -- gets a host of meaningful cosmetic and mechanical changes for 2016 aimed at keeping these consummate grand touring machines fully competitive with prime rivals like the Aston Martin DB9/Vanquish, Ferrari F12berlinetta and Rolls-Royce Wraith. Matching British handcrafted character with world-class Teutonic technology that comes courtesy of parent company Volkswagen, these 2+2 Bentleys deliver performance commensurate with their stunning good looks, thanks to twin-turbocharged V8 and W12 engines that produce up to 626 horsepower, fully adjustable adaptive suspension systems and standard all-wheel drive.

You'll Like This Car If...

Well-heeled buyers seeking a performance-centered 2+2 grand tourer with compelling style, great handling and an engaging personality will find a solid soulmate in any member of the 2016 Bentley Continental GT lineup.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those not willing or able to shell out $200,000+ for a premium grand touring car can opt for admittedly less exclusive alternatives like the BMW 6 Series/M6, Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. And for Bentley lovers who need a full-size back seat, there’s the equally engaging 4-door Flying Spur.

How It Ranks

#1

out of 3

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 3

Horsepower
View all rankings
What's New for 2016

Refreshed exterior and interior styling bring a more contemporary look and feel to the entire Continental GT family while the option roster now includes Wi-Fi connectivity. The standard W12 GT engine also gets more power and torque plus cylinder-deactivation technology that helps boost overall fuel economy approximately five percent.

Driving the Continental
Driving Impressions

Despite curb weights running from 5,060 to 5,501 pounds, every member of the 2016 Continental GT lineup merits dynamic kudos thanks to a superb balance of power, comfort and control....

... Potent V8 and V12 engines packing 500 to 626 horsepower make these Bentleys exhilaratingly quick, while a well-sorted all-wheel-drive system that’s fitted across the entire range imparts a remarkably confident feel even when you’re pressing hard through challenging twisty bits. Standard air suspension with continuous damper control allows the four discrete levels of chassis tuning, although the lower-riding GT V8 S and GT Speed set themselves apart with tauter Sport programming in place of the baseline Touring spec to deliver a more enthusiast-grade feel. Regardless of model, spending time in the stylish, finely finished and superbly isolated interior of any Continental GT can make even the most mundane errand-running mission a memorable experience.

NAIM AUDIO SYSTEM
Designed exclusively for the Bentley Continental GT family by the British audiophile firm Naim, this 11-speaker premium sound package uses an industry-first Dirac Dimensions digital sound-processing technology to deliver concert-hall quality performance for passengers in every seating position under all driving conditions.

MULLINER PERSONALIZATION OPTIONS
In addition to the available Mulliner Driving Specification package that comes standard on the GT Speed, Bentley’s factory-based customization division offers buyers of any Continental GT a full range of distinctive upgrades that span everything from unique paint/bodywork choices to one-off interior trim configurations.

2016 Bentley Continental Details
Interior

Like all Bentley vehicles, the handcrafted cabin of the Continental GT family is a strikingly sensual environment that deftly melds rich leather with a variety of fine wood and alloy accent elements, whether in Coupe form or Convertible crowned with a one-touch fully-lined power soft top. Updated instrument graphics and more user-friendly controls add new charm to the realm from a driver’s standpoint, and revised model-specific upholstery patterns bring greater visual distinction. Extremely supportive full-power front buckets are matched with individual rear seats that while comfortable in their own right, are better suited to carrying kids than full-size adults.

Exterior
2016 Bentley Continental photo

Maintaining classic character lines that have been a hallmark of Bentley Continental models since the name was introduced in 1952, the 2016 Continental family gets a major front/rear refresh that adds even more presence to their beautifully bold contours. The restyled nose features a smaller grille with a redrawn soft fascia and edgier front fenders that carry a new stylized bright badge. Out back, a more aerodynamic decklid design on all models incorporates a subtle spoiler, and a new brightwork element spans the reshaped bumper cap. The V8 S and GT Speed get more aggressive lower diffusers that highlight their performance-focused personalities.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Continental GT family complements its model-range-specific premium leather/wood/aluminum cabin trim elements with a full array of comfort/convenience touches and power assists -- including a rearview camera and hands-free trunk activation. Even the base GT V8 models feature an 8-speaker premium sound system, an 8.0-inch touch screen with navigation, Bluetooth phone/steaming audio, 20-inch alloy wheels and LED-infused bi-xenon headlights. Moving up to the W12 GT and Speed variants adds the more potent W12 engine and 21-inch alloy wheels while the latter model also comes with Mulliner Driving Specification quilted-leather upholstery.

Optional Equipment

In addition to the near-endless selection of unique touches available through Bentley’s Mulliner operation and the aforementioned Naim premium audio system, the Continental GT clan offers upgrades like heated/ventilated front seats with massage function, deep-pile carpets and mats, a sport steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, carbon-ceramic brakes and 21-inch alloy wheels. New to the 2016 extras list are Wi-Fi hotspot and new alloy wheels on all models and ultra-soft semi-aniline leather trim on the GT W12 and GT Speed.

Under the Hood

The Continental GT family offers sophisticated direct-injected V8 and W12 engines in two flavors, both featuring twin turbocharging that helps keep 0-60-mph times at or below six seconds across the entire lineup. Unchanged for 2016, the base 4.0-liter in the Continental GT V8 makes a solid 500 horsepower while the GT V8 S-spec engine cranks out 521 ponies. Now making 582 horses -- 15 more than last year -- the 6.0-liter 12-cylinder in the W12 GT also gets a new cylinder-deactivation system that improves its combined fuel economy by five percent. The W12 in the range-topping Continental GT Speed carries over intact and continues to crank out an exhilarating 626 horses. All engines are backed by a paddle-shiftable ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.

4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
500 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
487 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/24 mpg (Convertible), 15/24 mpg (Coupe)

4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
521 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
502 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/24 mpg (Convertible), 15/24 mpg (Coupe)

6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12
582 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
531 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/20 mpg (Convertible), 13/20 mpg (Coupe)

6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12
626 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
607 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/20 mpg (Convertible), 13/20 mpg (Coupe)

The 2016 Continental GT V8 Coupe has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $201,000, with the Convertible about $20K more. A GT V8 S Coupe and Convertible begin around $213,500 and $235,500, respectively, while the GT W12 is a bit over $216,000, and the GT Speed Coupe and Convertible commence around $241,000 and $266,000. Bentley’s extensive personalization programs can add considerably to those numbers, and while KBB hasn’t set fair purchase prices for any Continental variant, full retail represents a good starting point. By comparison, an Aston Martin DB9 opens just over $202,000, the Vanquish Coupe commands nearly $290,000 and the Volante Convertible about $307,000 while the coupe-only V12-powered Ferrari F12berlinetta and Rolls-Royce Wraith begin around $327,500 and $298,000, respectively. Although less exclusive, the closest 2-door “value alternative” is the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, starting around $113,000 in V8 form, doubling that figure for the V12 S65 AMG version.

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