By on January 9, 2012

Since its introduction, the Bentley Continental GT has been a fascinating lesson in how “luxury” operates. Fundamentally identical to the VW Phaeton, the Conti sold for twice as much — and did volumes between ten and thirty times what the uber-VW ever managed in the United States.

This platform is about to celebrate its tenth year in production. How do you revitalize it when there are plenty of $70,000 used Contis out there? Simple: you turn down the power.

The new twin-turbo four-liter V8 delivers 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque through a new eight-speed transmission. New interior electronics replace the Phaeton Infotainment center stack which was dated in 2004 and laughable today. The price? “North of $150K.” Here’s a hint: a used Conti with a $500 tuner chip will drop this thing like it’s hitting hyperspace out of an asteroid field. TTAC’s opinion? Time to put this nag out to pasture.

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12 Comments on “NAIAS: Bentley Continental GT V8...”

  • avatar

    a used Conti with a $500 tuner chip

    And a new transmission in a Bentley costs as much as a Golf, Passat, A4?

  • avatar

    Why would you put it out to pasture as you say…since it seems to be back selling well after its sale faltered for several years during the recession. This is IMHO still a beautiful relevant car. Besides even thought you can get one for 70k why would you want one out of warranty…geez can you imagine the repair bills..

  • avatar

    Sure its for footballers, night club owners and purveyors of urban music, but at least its lighter (a relative term) and it ditches the retarded W engine.

    • 0 avatar

      ^^^this is what its about

      rodeo drive camrys don’t need a W12 and a v8 is more than enough

      it would not surprise me if this isnt a move to improve emissions etc.

      i keep seeing paris hilton behind the wheel of a Continental and these kinds of people are 100% into the performance

  • avatar

    I suspect not many Bentley owners do ECU tuning …

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “the Bentley Continental GT has been a fascinating lesson in how “luxury” operates. Fundamentally identical to the VW Phaeton, the Conti sold for twice as much — and did volumes between ten and thirty times what the uber-VW ever managed in the United States.”

    It is all about snob appeal. In the 1950s, a Cadillac was mechanically better than a Chevrolet. Power windows, air-conditioning, power steering, hydramatic, … And it was put together better as well.

    Now everything has changed, the mechanical differences are small, even B class subcompacts have gizmos that were only found in luxury cars in the past. And build quality is pretty much in favor of the less expensive cars as well.

    All that is left is snob appeal, conspicuous consumption, and showing off. That is what you buy when you buy a “luxury car”.

  • avatar

    I’ll take a CL6.3 over this any day. Or maybe a CL550 and a 3 Series for the same $150,000. Reviews of 12 cylinder coupes (MB, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bentley) put the old Continental GT dead last and I’d be surprised if this one does any better. Bentley can only do so much with an old VW platform.

  • avatar

    Fundamentally identical to the VW Phaeton,

    Oh please.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Ooh, this is the part where you tell someone who owned two Phaetons, went to Dresden to observe Flying Spurs and Phaetons being assembled together on the same line, and installed a Bentley steering wheel (complete with paddle shifters) on one of his Phaetons how wrong he is.

      Go right ahead.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d argue that “fundamentally identical” is far to much of a simplification for “same platform”, even though there are many underlying similarities between the Phaeton and the Bentleys. However, quite a few differences still there, including the wheelbase (the GT is shorter, the FS longer than the Phaeton in short or long version).

        And however right you may be, your arguments don’t really pull that much weight – I have seen 6 different cars come from one line in Normal, IL, and I’d hardly say an Eclipse is fundamentically identical to an Endeavour. And I have seen lots of parts in cars that weren’t supposed to be there. ;)

        Oh, and the Continental never sold for twice as much as a similar equipped Phaeton. 50% more at most…

  • avatar

    Wrong color, wrong wheels…

    In a forest green or off-white (almost almond) with more conservative wheels, tan interior, and it’s about as cool as it comes (unless you are into boy-racer or ricer.)

    It would be interesting to see what colors are being chosen when it’s a customer order, not what the dealer thinks to order.

  • avatar

    As long as we have hip hop music moguls and overpaid sports figures there will always be a need for this car. With optional bling packages and 10000 watt stereo systems.

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