Much like its predecessors, the new model also features a 6.0l W12 engine mustering 467kW and 900Nm, which for the first time features both direct and port injection to achieve 15% better fuel efficiency and emissions, while a ZF dual-clutch automatic gearbox has been employed for the first time by Bentley.
According to Mark Scott, chassis and powertrain project leader for the model, customers demanded a more responsive driving disposition, particularly when overtaking or driving through a winding road. There were initial gearbox bugbears experienced by our international colleagues during pre-production drives in the UK late last year, but they were not apparent during our drive. In fact, both the engine and gearbox displayed such smooth matrimony that there was little need for manual gear intervention on my part.
A great deal of technical wizardry has been adopted for the chassis, starting with a 48V Dynamic Ride System that controls both comfort and lateral roll, the latter further aided by a three-chamber air suspension that ensures the waftage of the vehicle remains intact in Comfort mode. Of course you can switch to Sport mode, which tightens things up and you can hurl the model through corners with more verve than before, while the steering has a granular and direct feel in spite of being electrically assisted.
The engine remains an effortless powerhouse that also has variable displacement cylinder shutdown, which below 2,000r/min under partial load shuts off six-cylinders for even better efficiency with the company claiming a 12.2l/100km average fuel consumption figure.
Character is also something the Bentley now has in spades, thanks not only to the sportier silhouette, but also to the fine-tuned exhaust system, replete with bypass valves to offer a rich bass soundtrack in Sport mode.
When all is said and done, the previous Continental GT came under fire from the Mercedes-AMG S65, which felt slightly more upmarket thanks to the digital instrument cluster and fairly more modern finishes overall. However, with the new Continental GT, the tide has turned in the favour of the Bentley and it is now the model to chase in the segment.