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Issue Seven
May 27, 2003
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Bentley Continental GT: Trading the Tuxedo for Track Shoes
By Steve Litscher
Editor-in-Chief

(Tuesday, May 27, 2003 3:50 PM EST)

Bentley

Continental GT

Bentley Continental Interior

Bentley Continental Interior

Bentley Continental Interior

Bentley Continental GT Coupe

Bentley Coupe

new Bentley GT coupe

Bentley GT

Long known for providing incredible creature comforts, impeccable craftsmanship and "old Englishman prestige", Bentley recently loosened its collar with the unveiling of a new "sports coupe" - the Continental GT.

The Continental GT places Bentley in a very unique position - a place with no direct competition. You see, Bentley managed to build a beautiful 2-door coupe that packs over 500 horsepower (thanks to a turbocharged W12 engine), includes typical Bentley details like fine leather hides, exotic woods and incredible assembly details, all for around $160,000.

While the $160,000 price tag may not be for everyone, it is "doable" for many, and that puts Bentley in a very lucrative position. They've effectively created a market that they can dominate while the other luxury (and sports car) makes have to play catch-up. As evidence of the emphasis on the sporting aspect of the car, Bentley has entered a Continental GT in this year's 24-hours of Daytona race.

I recently had a chance to witness the Continental GT in person, and I must say it is an amazing automobile. Its stance is sleek and trim, terms not usually used when referring to the Bentley's of old. Its profile looks very much the sports car, and the similarities don't end there.

Large, ominous wheels wrapped in low profile rubber and covering massive brakes indicate that this car was born to run, and run fast. Under the hood sits an amazing six-liter W12 engine, fed by two turbo chargers, all of which pumps out over 500 horsepower. Those half-a-thousand ponies are fed to a six-speed automatic, tiptronic controlled transmission, and then dispatched to four (that's right, four) wheels via a sophisticated all wheel drive system.

The all wheel drive will work in harmony with a traction control system and an electronic stability control system to ensure a smooth, comfortable and safe ride. From what we've seen of the suspension, it appears as though the Continental GT will ride and handle with the best of them. Very impressive stuff.



Thanks in part to the very athletically styled body, with its very short overhangs (styling that we think looks incredibly powerful and sexy); the Continental GT is expected to reach top speeds in excess of 180 mph. Not bad for a stuffy old Bentley, eh?

We can hardly wait to take possession of our test vehicle so we can further share with you just how incredible the Continental GT is. Stay tuned for follow-up information and an in-depth review of the venerable Bentley Continental GT.

Bentley expects nearly three-quarters of the owners of the new Continental GT will be first-time Bentley buyers. That's not surprising when you factor the performance, styling and quality that you're getting for your money. But make no mistake - this isn't an economy version of any Bentley - it's an entirely new vehicle that says Bentley in every category: power, performance, presentation and prestige.


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