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Bentley Continental GT review – design

It’s as esoteric as any Bentley GT, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view

Evo rating
Price
from £159,100
  • Astonishing ability for such a big car; raw performance; refinement; cabin quality
  • W12 GT not as accomplished as the V8 to drive; chassis feels like it could take more power and focus

Where the cabin is a triumph, the exterior design is nearly as successful, with one or two slight caveats. The overall design is much improved over that of previous Contis, underpinned by the aforementioned change in chassis architecture that gives the new car a much longer dash-to-axle ratio, pushing the cabin towards the back of the chassis and lengthening the bonnet. The nose is bluff and upright, but the grille is neatly integrated into the GT’s surfacing and neither too big nor too small in context to the Conti’s scale.

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The headlights and lower openings are more controversial, though, the former perhaps overwrought with their glitzy cut-glass elements. When specified right, though, namely with dark elements within the headlights and omitting the chrome mesh grille options, this is easily rectified.

The fastback body, tough haunches and quasi Kamm-style rear end are all successful elements, however. Perhaps one caveat is that this car really needs the largest wheels possible to avoid the rear axle being overwhelmed by the sheer mass of the rear overhang.

While the Conti GT could never be called understated, the fact Bentley has pulled off such a finely wrought balance of opulence and contemporary appeal in an era of such incongruous car design deserves recognition in itself.

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