2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed – The Athlete In Gentleman’s Clothing
The 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed has never been a slouch, with or without the Speed badge. Even the “lesser” entry-level V8 packs plenty of punch, by any sane man’s standards. But the Speed is just different. This is the pinnacle of the Continental bunch, Bentley’s spoiled kid. It’s the fastest Bentley ever produced, able of traveling at 206 mph while maintaining a very composed and dignified attitude. So British!
So what’s new in the 2015 model…? Well, nothing much, the 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed is merely a subtle, but welcome, facelift of the 2014 model. On the outside, you can now opt for a new styling package which will bring you a new aggressive front splitter, sporty side-skirts and a new rear diffuser. The 21″ wheels, the headlights and tail lights are tinted in a darker shade, in a (successful) effort to emphasize the aggressiveness of car, as well as setting off beautifully the paint job. And, because we all know red makes anything faster, the brake calipers have been painted in red. And that pretty much sums up the exterior changes for the 2015 model.
Uh-huh, then the changes must be on the inside! Well, not really. Under the bonnet you’ll find the old-trusty (and thirsty) W12 engine, with its 6 liters of turbocharged madness, slightly tuned to develop 10 extra horses and 17 lb-ft extra torque, for a total of 626 bhp and 607 lb-ft. With the aid of a revised (read it as “faster”) 8-spd ZF gearbox, the power is transmitted to all four wheels, for maximum grip and handling. The chassis has also been slightly tuned, the height was lowered by 0.4 inch, the suspension has been recalibrated (45% stiffer on the front and 33% on the rear), the front camber has been adjusted for better steering response and the standard anti-roll bars have been replaced for stiffer, sportier ones. All these changes combined with the huge power of the W12 engine make the Speed feel like an outright supercar. 0 to 60 comes in just under 4 seconds and the 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed tops out at 206 mph. Oh yes, it is that fast, but it’s a deceiving kind of speed. You don’t really notice it, unless you look at the speedometer. You feel that huge wave of inexorable torque constantly pushing you forward, but in a somewhat noiseless, comfy way. The ride is firm, but comfortable. It doesn’t have the ferociousness of a thoroughbred racer, but it will give it a good run for its money, anytime, anywhere.
Despite its 5000+ pounds heavy weight, the car feels nimble and agile, the steering is responsive and accurate and the car generally breaths confidence over the driver, almost as if inviting him to more spirited driving. It is almost unnatural, if you consider this is a 16-foot-long car that weights in excess of 5000 pounds. And unlike an all-out racer, the Continental GT Speed will do it all in a very luxurious, comfortable and innocent way, which you could consider even more dangerous than the lunacy of a pure racer. When you’re driving a Zonda, or a Koenigsegg, you know what to expect. It’s there to kill you. You have been warned and you act accordingly. But the Speed just wafts you up to 200 mph in a comfy, posh leather-and-wood cocoon while soothingly whispering to your ear “It’s all right, you can go faster…” It really is a different breed, this… But then again, 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed with a base price of $230,000 – it has to.