Ah, Bentley. Most know the company to either be an expensive luxury car manufacturer or the company that made “the fast, green car”, aka the Speed 8, which won the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans. That win is most likely what boosted Bentley back on the map of the automotive world in the 21st century, after a near six decade absence. The Continental GT holds some of Bentley’s racing past in its tires and adds it to their newer luxury status. Here is how it has earned the title of Car of the Month…
The Roots of the Car
After winning Le Mans around five times in the 20s, Bentley was absorbed by Rolls Royce and their parts were used in their cars. Later on the company Vickers bought the Bentley name and began releasing luxury cars under it. A decent amount of cars were released including the models of today like the Continental and Mulsanne, but also with lesser known cars like the Brooklands and the Azure that never made it past 2003. Well, they did have short lived revivals in 2006 but that’s out of the question. This is where the GT’s legacy begins.
Different versions of the Continental began coming out, such as the Continental R, which became one of the most expensive production cars of the early 90s. Sub models of the R were released later, including the S and T Continentals which provided more performance. In the late 90s, Volkswagen acquired the company, along with other popular names like Lamborghini and Bugatti. (I seriously doubt that the Continental GT has Huracan door handles, hope you’ve read that article)
The GT is Born
In the same year that the Speed 8 Race Car won 24 Hours of Le Mans, the first generation of Continental GT was born. Bentley priced it around half the price of the R model from the 90s, which opened it up to people with “less” money. It shed its former sharp, blocky appearance for a sort of sloping body style, complete with large back lights, and equipped with a bold front grille.
The GT led Bentley forward into the luxury car market by springing off many sub models such as the Continental GTC (Grand Touring Convertible) and the Continental Flying Spur, which went off to become a main Bentley model later on. Higher performance versions also arrived later, such as the Supersports edition.
Gen 2 arrived in 2011 and was dethroned as a flagship model by the new and improved Mulsanne. That certainly didn’t stop it from spawning a dozen or so more special editions, even joining the GT3 category of racing in 2013. The gen 3 version of the GT was introduced in 2018 and further refined all of the car’s aspects, making it look much more premium.
Why it’s the Car of the Month
The Continental GT deserves to be the Car of the Month because of its large role in bringing Bentley back. The original Continental outlasted all of the many other Bentley models from the 90s, and used the trail that the Speed 8 Race Car started to build the company back up as a performance tinted luxury brand. It took the name of Bentley and added to its meaning, essentially making it July’s Car of the Month.
Congratulations, Continental GT.
The Scoring Board
Performance: 6 | Luxury: 8.5 | Looks: 9
Performance: Why it gets a 6…
The GT gets a 6 in Performance because it packs an extra punch with the luxury Bentley is known for, but the car’s immense weight holds back the W12 engine inside from going all out.
Luxury: Why it gets an 8.5
The GT gets an 8.5 in Luxury because its interior is mostly handmade, with all sorts of fabrics and patterning made manually each day. While the inside isn’t exactly a Rolls Royce interior, its exterior definitely stands up to the competition in terms of unique and premium design choices.
Looks: Why it gets a 9
The GT gets a 9 in Looks because in my opinion I love the exterior and its slope-like ways that make it differ from the boring rectangular 90s Continentals. The only reason it didn’t get a 10 is because I prefer mid size coupes over its large form.
Dark Gray Bentley Continental GT: Jannis Lucas, on Unsplash
Blue Continental GT: Cam Bowers, on Unsplash