New Car Reviews
2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed | first drive
Posted on January 21, 2013 by Pankaj Dev
First test drive after returning from Detroit last week turns out to be nothing short of a beastly 616bhp 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed. Earlier in the month, the 2013 Detroit Motor Show was the launch pad for Continental GT Speed convertible version. While the world eyed that beauty, Bentley was readying a beast for me.
My brief sojourn with the 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed, the company’s fastest production car to date, took me from bustling Dubai towards the eastern parts of United Arab Emirates through some scenic roads enveloped by sand dunes on either sides; leading onto winding mountain roads. Our destination was the port town of Fujairah. The return journey was a modest highway drive heading into the Dubai Autodrome for a quick show of strengths on the track.
Driving a 616bhp car is about keeping the urge to floor the throttle in check. When the might to unleash the powers of a 6-litre twin turbo charged W12 lay at your feet, it’s rather difficult to control the urge. With 616bhp of power and a colossal 800Nm of torque at my disposal, I was not going to hold back.
The Continental GT Speed leaps forward at slightest of pressure to the metal throttle pedal and keeps surging ahead confidently, challenging for more. The power delivery of this monstrous engine pushes you firmly into the driver seat as it propels the Continental GT Speed from standstill to 100kmh in just 4.2 seconds. Bear in mind that the car weighs 2.75 tons. The engine is rated to reach a top speed of 330kmh, and there was no reason to doubt or test that. The engine is mated to ZF 8 speed automatic transmission and features steering mounted pedal shifts.
Computer controlled self-leveling air suspension with anti roll bars is tuned for dynamic performance. A permanent all wheel driveline with a 40:60 rear bias is featured on the 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed. Contrary to expectations, the car rides firm and grips the tarmac impressively well. The engineers at Crewe have done a remarkable job of balancing comfort and sportiness of the ride in the new Continental GT Speed.
Winding my way through the narrow mountain roads, it became evidently apparent, that despite its status as one of the fastest production cars in the world, the GT Speed maintains that delicate balance between raw power and top-notch luxury. The cabin is akin a cocoon of fine, two-tone hand stitched leather, satin carbon fiber finish and hand laminated real wood. The retro style polished silver push pull metal knobs for the air conditioning vents are a delight. Where do you see that kind of stuff these days?
That GT Speed is a coupe does not mean the rear seats are mere display pieces, as in many similar cars. Agreed that a 6-feet tall will feel cramped in the back seats, however there is ample of space for average size adults to be seated fairly comfortably.
Unlike a Lamborghini that consistently challenges you, the GT Speed has a more welcoming personality. Its almost like the car is saying to you – see, you deserved this. The GT Speed is a car that you can take your kids to school in, do your daily errands, drive to a golf course or hand over to the valet guys with a high probability that you find your car parked right at the entrance, as if the Hotel is showing it off.
To understand the GT Speed, one must keep in mind that W.O. Bentley was not merely a car designer or a businessman. He was a race driver. So if you spot 405mm ventilated discs behind the 21 inch alloys, there is a reason for them to be there.
The grand finale of this short stint with the GT Speed was a passenger ride with one of the drive instructors who had flown in all the way from Crewe for this event. The colossal power of the W12 easily allowed the tail of the car to swing out on corners. Of course the electronic stability and traction control systems had to be switched off. A single lap was simply not enough!
Buying a Bentley is an experience. It’s a journey of customization. The choice between exterior colors and interior finishes is a mind boggling one. None-the-less, there are enough and more takers for this premium automobile.Bentley, Bentley Continental GT Speed, Dubai Autodrome, First Drive