Bentley Continental GT

The Essentials

  • Price from £123,850
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 26.9mpg
  • What is it? Majestic grand tourer that will scamper across continents, stopped only by a need for regular refuelling

Great

  • It's a case of 3-2-1 blast off every time you press the accelerator
  • People will assume you're a celebrity or aristocrat
  • Plenty of luxuries included; you name it, Bentley will probably fit it

Gripes

  • It's certainly not cheap, either to buy or run
  • W12 versions feel nose-heavy
  • Chunky front pillars create some blind spots
  • Drive

    Eye-watering pace, tidy handling and a relaxing ride

  • Inside

    Lots of adjustment but it's never that easy to see past the front windscreen pillars at junctions

  • Safety

    Every electronic accident-preventing gizmo is fitted, plus protection if the worst happens

  • Reliability

    Mechanical bits come from Audi and VW so should stand the test of time

  • Space

    Rear seats best kept for kids but the boot is a useful size and easy to use

  • Standard and extras

    Sat-nav, climate and cruise control and a top-notch stereo as standard. Want a gold-plated bird cage for your budgie? Bentley will probably supply one

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Continental GT comes with a choice of three engines. There's a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that produces 500bhp, and 567bhp and 616bhp versions of a mammoth 6.0-litre W12. Even the V8 is exceptionally fast and ready to pounce from low revs; it also feels more agile than the W12s. All models are four-wheel-drive and have adjustable air suspension that strikes a good balance between comfort and control. Refinement is generally excellent, with almost all extraneous sounds kept out; the only noise comes from the big tyres when on coarse surfaces.

  • What's it like inside?

    The GT's dash is styled to echo the wings of the Bentley badge, and is reasonably user-friendly. Just about everything is trimmed with polished wood or soft leather and the quality of the fit and finish is exemplary. The driver should have no problem finding a comfortable position behind the wheel, but it can be difficult to see clearly round chunky windscreen pillars when pulling out of angled junctions. There's lots of room for two up front, but the rear seats are best for two children, or adults on short journeys. However, the Continental GT is more practical than most supercars you can buy for the money, especially as you get a large, well-shaped boot. It also features almost every piece of equipment you can think of, and customers can specify virtually any other luxury item they desire.

  • How reliable is it?

    Many of the GT's underpinnings comes from VW or Audi, so should prove sturdy. As for safety, there's plenty to protect you on the road, plus six airbags and whiplash-preventing headrests in case you come off it. Deadlocks and an alarm help keep the car safe from thieves.

  • Should I buy one?

    A Bentley is always going to be expensive, but desirability keeps resale values strong, so it's almost a sensible investment. The V8 version will be cheapest to run, but with a claimed average of 27mpg, we're not exactly talking fuel 'economy' here.