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.

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

Recommended

evo Car of the Year 2021 – on sale now!
eCoty 2021 – covers
evo Car of the Year

evo Car of the Year 2021 – on sale now!

Our biggest issue of the year is back, with the ultimate reckoning of 2021's best high performance cars
8 Dec 2021
2021 Bentley Continental GT Speed review - Ultimate GT set to take on DB11 AMR V12
Bentley Continental GT Speed UK – cornering
Bentley Continental GT

2021 Bentley Continental GT Speed review - Ultimate GT set to take on DB11 AMR V12

Bentley claims the new GT Speed is its most performance-focused car ever. After lapping Silverstone’s GP circuit it’s hard not to agree
4 May 2021
Bentley Continental GT review
Bentley Continental GT review – front quarter
Bentley Continental GT coupe

Bentley Continental GT review

The Bentley Continental GT is not just an excellent cruiser, but now one with real ability, poise and even some engagement
10 Mar 2021

Most Popular

Car pictures of the week
Maserati MC20
Maserati MC20 coupe

Car pictures of the week

In this week’s car pictures from issue 294, we look at the highlights from Jethro Bovingdon’s drive in the highly anticipated Maserati MC20
21 Jan 2022
Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 pictured on the road
Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4
Lamborghini

Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 pictured on the road

New Countach LPI 800-4 limited edition celebrates 50 years since Gandini’s original, and first deliveries aren’t far away
25 Jan 2022
Hot Aston Martin DBX to be the ‘most powerful luxury SUV’
Aston Martin DBX S
Aston Martin DBX

Hot Aston Martin DBX to be the ‘most powerful luxury SUV’

Aston’s high performance DBX to be revealed on Feb 1 and pack a whole lot more power
24 Jan 2022