Bentley Continental GT Speed Accelerates Into Town

BY Joel Tam

In an exclusive drive experience, Bentley unveiled its fastest production car, the Continental GT Speed, thundering through a custom circuit with its 620 bhp W12 power plant.

Photos: Low Fai Ming

What weighs 2.5 tonnes, accelerates faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera S and has the torque of two BMW M3s? Clue: It can also double up as a teleportation device, albeit only to one destination (a luxury English grand hotel room).

Not hard to guess if you've scanned through the photos here. It's none other than Bentley's fastest production car, the Continental GT Speed.

With a W12 engine pushing 620 bhp and 800 Nm of torque, the luxury yacht-on-wheels will reach 100 km/h from 'berth-point' in 4.2 seconds. Keep the pedal down to the floorboard and the speedo will see 330 km/h, if given the space.

Held at the Changi Exhibition Centre, the driving experience was held over four days for media and customers from around Asia. Instructors from England were at hand to guide participants through the custom course which displayed the prowess of the cars.

Among the fleet were the base-model Continental GT V8, the Flying Spur, the flagship Mulsanne, and of course, the Continental GT Speed with its W12 developing 620 bhp and 800 Nm of torque from 2000 rpm. The twin-turbo, 48-valve, 6.0-litre W12 is now mated to a ZF eight-speed transmission.

A mixture of braking tests, slalom courses and circuit driving allowed participants to experience the various technology that the car possessed. The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system for example, retains the "Dynamic Mode" setting that allows increased wheel slip at higher speeds, with engine torque reinstated more quickly after a system intervention. Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system ensured pliant ride comfort despite the uprating of the suspension components for a sportier drive.

All Continental models, including the GT V8 we drove, feature a permanent all-wheel-drive system which retains the 60% rear and 40% front torque split. The car still feels like a barge round the fast corners, but the electronics are admittedly very effective in keeping the car tracking within the cornering line.

In line with the standard Continental models, the Bentley Continental GT Speed is fitted with 405 mm diameter front and 335 mm rear ventilated, cast iron brake discs and eight-piston callipers as standard for outstanding stopping power.

This was proven at a braking test station when we came to a grinding halt from 200 km/h! One of our test cars was fitted with the 420 mm front and 356 mm rear cross-drilled Carbon Silicon-Carbide (CSiC) discs, which provided even more aggressive stopping power.

On the exterior, it's not easy to tell the difference between the V8 and the Speed. In fact the V8 (above) actually looks sportier. Even the exhuast tips on the V8 which mimic a horizontal "8" look more distinctive. But the Speed is still a beauty to behold, dark tint radiator matrix and front bumper grilles enhance the air intakes that pay homage to the Le Mans winning Bentleys of the 1920s to give the front of the new GT Speed a more aggressive, sporting look.

Despite the GT Speed's sporting overtones, this grand tourer retains an exquisite hand-crafted interior. Plush and extremely luxurious, the Bentley interior is created using only the finest natural materials. Soft, supple leathers, polished veneers and cool-touch metals combine with the meticulous craftsmanship for which Bentley is renowned to provide a cabin of exceptional quality.