Bentley’s Continental GT has been in production since 2003. A second generation showed up in 2011, but the look was basically the same as before. Now, with the introduction of the third-generation 2018 Continental GT, which will arrive in the US as a 2019 model, Bentley has seen fit to give its popular grand tourer a whole new look.
The new look comes largely from the gorgeous EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. The taillights are round and thin, and the front grille takes on a flatter, more prominent look up front. The Continental GT’s trademark round headlights are still present, but they’ve been tweaked to better match the car’s new shape. Moving the front wheels forward by 5.3 inches allows for a longer, lower nose. Buyers can choose from 17 basic colors, but there’s always the option to add a bespoke hue — for a price.
The interior is drop-dead beautiful. The dashboard’s trim extends seamlessly to the door panels, and a tall center console loaded with physical switchgear gives the driver and passenger their own separate spaces. The front occupants get 20-way adjustable power seats with heating, cooling and massage functions, and the quilted leather has never looked better. There’s a new “diamond in diamond” quilt design where each diamond shape has 712 stitches.
The most fascinating part of the 2019 Continental GT is its new rotating display. The dashboard features a panel that can rotate to display one of three things — a flat cover that extends the dashboard’s trim, the same cover but with three analog dials, and the Conti GT’s 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s impressive in pictures, so I can’t imagine how it looks in person.
Tech-wise, the Continental GT comes with a 10-speaker sound system, but 16-speaker and 18-speaker systems are also available. Like many other new Volkswagen Group cars, the instrument panel is a giant screen. Apple CarPlay is available on that ridiculous rotating touchscreen, but it doesn’t appear Android Auto came along for the ride.
Under the hood of the 2019 Continental GT is a 6.0-liter W12 that puts out 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. In conjunction with a new all-wheel drive system, it’ll hit 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and keep going until 207 mph. The engine features both stop-start tech, as well as a variable-displacement system that can shut down half the cylinders under low load to save fuel. The sole transmission on offer is an eight-speed dual-clutch unit.
To keep the ride nice and cushy, there’s an active suspension connected to a 48-volt electrical system. It can adjust the sway bars on each axle in real time, keeping things nice and comfy until the going gets spirited. Adaptive dampers contribute to ride quality, as well.
A new electric power steering system allows the Continental GT to be equipped with active safety systems. The car will be able to control itself in traffic jams, stopping and going to match the flow of traffic. It’ll also hold itself in its lane, and when it comes time to stop, it can park itself, too.
The 2019 Bentley Continental GT will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Pricing and specific release-date information are still TBD.