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Celebrating the Bentley Continental, the original GT

| Updated on: Dec 17, 2015
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2016 Bentley Continental GT Speed features alongside the iconic R-Type in new film

British super luxury car brand Bentley has just unveiled a new film commemorating the iconic R-Type Continental that traces the history of the car all the way to the 2016 model year Continental GT Speed. The film, which celebrates the design and lineage of the Continental starting from when it was first introduced in 1952, also recalls the viewers attention to the current Continental range.

The R-Type, widely considered to be the world’s first Grand Tourer, was the fastest four-seater in the world at the time of its launch 63 years ago. With a top speed of over 190 kmph, the R-Type Continental could easily cruise on the highways and autobahns of Europe. A Bentley press release says that many of the 208 examples produced were coachbuilt by Mulliner – a name that is closely associated with Bentley even today.

The design of the Continental is the other feature that remains unchanged, with the power line, the muscular rear haunches and the swooping fast roof line almost like carry forwards from the original and found even in the current Continental range. Like many other iconic car designs, the Continental’s too can be drawn with just three strokes of the designer’s pen.

It may be recalled that Bentley introduced the 2016 model year range of Continentals at the Geneva Motor Show this year. Bentley models don’t get updates that regularly and changes are usually still conservative and carefully considered so as to not affect the model’s lineage influences. The changes that were introduced in the Continental GT Speed included the introduction of a smaller grille and front fascia, shapelier fenders and a rear diffuser.

Inside the GT Speed, changes to the cabin included a smaller steering wheel, new instrument cluster and centre console layout and on-board WiFi. The seats also get new leather upholstery including new faux suede. The 2016 Continental GT Speed’s performance numbers remain largely unchanged. The 6-litre, W12 twin turbocharged engine generates 626bhp of peak power and 820Nm of torque. The car can accelerate from 0 to 100 kmph in 4.2 seconds and top speed is 331 kmph.

Like all Bentley’s the GT Speed is also supremely customisable and the Mulliner driving specification interior includes the diamond quilted leather seats with the indented headliner. The original Continental R-Type was almost entirely constructed out of aluminium and in the interest of paring weight to a minimum Bentley engineers felt that the radio was “superfluous”. But in today’s GT Speed, buyers have the option of upgrading to the high-end Naim Audio System.

Published on March 10, 2018

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