The Bentley Continental GT is an interesting vehicle: On the one hand, it’s a handcrafted, exclusive, magnificently powerful, and intensely desirable luxury sports coupe. And on the other hand, it’s managed to squeeze itself into that strange automotive netherworld reserved for expensive cars that have become a status symbol for posers, athletes, and Paris Hilton. Which is perplexing, because the Continental GT is a good car.
The Conti GT shares the same underpinnings as the failed, but fantastic, Volkswagen Phaeton and weighs in at a fairly colossal 5,200 lbs. To combat it’s girth, Bentley fitted it with a twin-turbo, 6.0 liter W12 engine that produces a pavement crinkling 552 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of torque. With this prodigious power, the Conti does the 0-60 mph shuffle in an impressive 4.7 seconds, and runs onto a top speed of 197 mph. You can also specify your great slab of ye Ol’ English automobile with even more power: The Supersports version makes 621 hp and 590 lb-ft. of torque, which is enough cajones to put a lot of race bred exotics to shame, and catapults the Supersports to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Which is fast.
Like all Bentleys, the interior is a work of art. It’s like sitting in an expensive smoking jacket, with a glass of McCallan Archive 21, inside a library that smells of rich mahogany. Whole herds of big eyed baby cows gave up their lives to encase the cabin in fine leather, and the metal and brushed aluminum on the dash look like the inside of a metallurgists laboratory. The entire car exudes an aura of quality, exclusivity, and completeness.
So what is it about the Continental GT that’s just a little bit off? It posts big numbers, looks great, and comes from one of the most storied marquees in the business. The closest conclusion that can be drawn is that it’s a bit like the friend who’s sarcastic so often, it’s not funny any more. It’s been bought by enough people with “status” and is popular enough so that its special sparkle is gone. And, it doesn’t help when people like Paris Hilton go and paint theirs bright pink – that never bodes well. The Bentley that would make it into the TDC Dream Garage wouldn’t be the Continental GT, even in Supersports form, but rather the vastly more dramatic and outlandish Mulsanne. Hopefully, rich air-headed bimbos won’t go and ruin that one too.