Bentley Continental GT Can Do More Than Cover Long, Straight Distances

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The new Continental GT is still a great grand touring car, but now it’s more fun on curvy roads.

There are some cars out there that are just about numbers. They’re built to generate a certain amount of horsepower and torque (usually outrageously high), hit 60 mph below a particular threshold, and top out at a speed you can only achieve on an empty runway. Other cars are better defined by letters. Your average econobox is an A-B car; take it from home to work and back home. Grand touring cars, such as the Bentley Continental GT, are what you could call A-Z cars because they’re made to cover long distances while keeping the driver and their passengers comfortable.

The all-new Continental GT is still a grand tourer as its name implies, but it makes the curvier parts of the A-Z journey more enjoyable than ever before. Carfection‘s Henry Catchpole finds out for himself on the gorgeous roads that wind through Scotland’s countryside. Carfection Tests the New Bentley Continental GT

GT cars are meant to coddle their occupants with high-end materials and creature comforts and the new Continental is true to form. The interior of Catchpole’s press loaner is filled with Hawaiian wood veneers, real metal accents, and quilted leather. Those luxury touches surround thoroughly modern infotainment tech – a major shortcoming of the last Continental GT. Catchpole can pound out the miles while his seat massages him and the top-of-the-line Naim audio system – which he calls the best he’s ever heard – fills his ears. And he can do it in a hurry thanks to the twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 under the hood, which pumps out 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque “from a ridiculously low 1,350 rpm.” Carfection Tests the New Bentley Continental GT

Unlike its predecessor, the new Continental GT can do more than just go in a straight line. It’s more dynamic than before. One part of that is the fact that it’s based on the new Porsche Panamera’s underpinnings. Another part of that is down to Bentley cutting 168 pounds (76 kg) of weight. A new 48-volt anti-roll system manages the remaining 4,947 pounds (2,244 kg). Carfection Tests the New Bentley Continental GT

One of the Continental GT’s heaviest parts, that massive W12, now sits further back in the engine bay. As Catchpole puts it, that positioning makes it “a much more balanced, enjoyable car.” That W12’s connected to a quick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox. In sport mode, the all-wheel drive system’s variable torque split can send up to 83 percent of the W12’s twist to the rear end. Another big part of the Continental GT’s newfound athleticism is its steering, which has great turn-in response and better weighting than before. Carfection Tests the New Bentley Continental GT

The end result of all of Bentley’s improvements is a car that corrects the problems that its predecessor had while keeping the strengths of the old model. Catchpole sums it up nicely by saying, “This is actually an engaging and enjoyable car down a good piece of road.”

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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