As if the regular Continental weren't fast enough, Bentley always adds a Speed version at some point. The Speed coupe is already out and now the Speed convertible joins the lineup for 2014. In both the 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed and the GTC Speed, the output of the W-12 engine is increased to 616 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The GTC Speed's top speed is 202 mph, up from 195 mph. Additional embellishments include a lower ride height, a more extroverted exhaust, 21-inch wheels, dark chrome grilles, a rear diffuser, and the Mulliner interior with quilted leather, aluminum pedals, and a knurled shift lever...
The 2014 Bentley Continental GT (coupe) and Continental GTC (convertible) are the most accessible -- read: affordable -- and therefore the most popular Bentley models. After eight years on the market, the coupe went in for its first redesign in 2011; the convertible followed in 2012. For both, the changes refined the existing formula. That formula involves mass, torque, and speed. For an extra dose of the last two items, there are the Speed models, which amplify this big machine's already impressive performance.
There's a special feel in the 2014 Bentley Continental GT, from the moment you open the heavy door and get your first nose full of that leather interior. Keep in mind that, in a Bentley, we're not just talking "seating surfaces." This is leather everywhere, including the dash, the pillars, the headliner, everything. The front thrones are about what you'd expect, but the well being of the back-seat passengers is completely dependent on the generosity of those up front to scoot their seats forward.
The 2014 Bentley Continental GT has used a twelve-cylinder engine from the get-go; it's a large, 6.0-liter unit with its cylinders arranged not in a V but in a W shape. Spin the W-12 to life and it settles into a deep bass rumble. 567 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque are waiting to be unleashed by your right foot. More recently, Bentley added the (lower-cost) option of a turbocharged V-8. Although its 500 hp and 487 lb-ft are shaded by the W-12, it's amazing how similar in character the two engines are. The V-8 accelerates the Continental GT from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds; the W-12 accomplishes the same feat in 4.4 seconds.
Any version of the 2014 Bentley Continental GT or GTC is impressive underway. This is a heavy car and yet it accelerates and changes direction with alacrity. The steering is neither overboosted nor too heavy, and it is commendably precise. Also notable is the beautifully matched calibration of the throttle and brake -- neither jumpy nor grabby; both have a long travel that is nicely progressive.
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