evo Car of the Year 2017 - Bentley Continental GT - evo Car of the Year best GT

Bentley's Continental GT lives up to its name with a beguiling mix of ability and civility

While the first incarnation of the Continental GT sold well and was well respected in some quarters it was a car with which we never entirely gelled. Driven sedately it was rather good, but up the ante a little and its VW Phaeton underpinnings gave the game away, leading to a machine that never felt composed when trying to hustle its 2.2-tons around.

Thankfully this new machine is based on Porsche’s Panamera and it’s an entirely different ball game, looking altogether more like the luxury GT with a new set of stylish clothes. It really is all-new from the ground up, even the 6-litre twin-turbo W12 is all-new, and figures of 626bhp, 664lb ft aren’t to be sniffed at, especially when it’s capable of launching the GT from a 0-62mph in just 3.7sec and on to a top speed of 207mph.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

But a GT shouldn’t just be about straight-line gusto and this is where Bentley has really nailed it with the Continental GT. It needs to be the pinnacle of refinement and waft its driver and passengers to the South of France in hushed civility but also entertain when asked to tackle a more challenging task. It nails the first of those criteria with a wonderful cockpit ambiance, supreme build quality and with a sense of majesty with the way it flows across terrain.

Hit the Sport button though and give the Bentley a more demanding challenge and it’s more than up to the task with a level of agility that simply isn’t expected. The car’s computer-controlled air suspension does a bewilderingly good job of keeping its mass in check – even after a bit of a diet the GT still weighs 2169kg – and it’s phenomenally poised when you do start to throw the car around. With a reconfigured four-wheel drive set up it’ll even let you indulge in power oversteer antics should you be so inclined.

That it’s capable of making a pretty good first of being a sports car while cosseting you like you’re sitting in your favourite armchair at a gentleman’s club while smoking a Montecristo No. 2 after a jolly fine lunch is a stroke of genius. 

Highly commended

Ferrari GTC4 Lusso: for its glorious naturally aspirated V12, outright performance and four-wheel drive go anywhere appeal.

Lexus LC500: for its show car looks, stunning 5-litre V8, refinement and agility.

evo cars of the year

Supermini: Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot SportHot hatch: Honda Civic Type RSports saloon: Alfa Romeo Giulia VeloceSupersaloon: Alfa Romeo Giulia QuadrifoglioSports car: Lotus Elise Sport 220Coupe: BMW M4 Competition PackSUV: Porsche Macan GTSGT: Bentley Continental GTSupercar: McLaren 720SHypercar: Bugatti ChironCar of the year: McLaren 720S

Most Popular

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Volkswagen Golf GTI 2020 review – eight generations new, the GTI still has the goods
Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2020 review – eight generations new, the GTI still has the goods

A very good hot hatch, but a great Golf GTI, the new mk8 excels where required to form a very desirable offering
19 Oct 2020
Range Rover D350 Autobiography 2020 review – new straight-six diesel a great fit
Land Rover Range Rover

Range Rover D350 Autobiography 2020 review – new straight-six diesel a great fit

The Range Rover’s new powertrain improves an admittedly aging package, but age doesn’t inhibit regality and it still has that in excess
17 Oct 2020
Cupra Leon eHybrid 2020 review – are hybrids and hot hatchbacks still mutually exclusive?
Cupra

Cupra Leon eHybrid 2020 review – are hybrids and hot hatchbacks still mutually exclusive?

Cupra’s hybrid hot hatch isn’t really sure what it wants to be – wait for the regular Cupra instead
16 Oct 2020