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Returning Investment: The Bentley Continental GT

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On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 4:11PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Returning Investment: The Bentley Continental GT

Just before the fall of the financial world, it seemed as if Bentley was just handing out Continental GTs. Whether it was another dot com millionaire, the newest New York Knick (anyone remember Stephon Marbury?), or just another Lehman Brother who needed a car to match the house he couldn't actually afford, the Continental GT sales grew almost exponentially since its release in 2003, peaking at upwards of 10,000 GTs being produced annually.  


Thankfully, not all of Bentley's customers were created as artificially as the mortgage-backed loans that got the country into that whole mess, and some could still afford a car payment and gas in the same month. That being said, even those with money don't like to see a bad return on investment. There's nothing quite as disheartening as seeing the prized automobile you just spent 200k on become instantly outdated with the advent of the new model year.  


With their customer's feelings in mind, the 2012 Bentley Continental GT is less of second generation debut, and more of an advancement of the previous generation. There are upgrades, but they are subtle to say the least. Track has been increased 1.6 inches up front and 1.9 inches out back, while the car itself drops 143 pounds from last year bringing the Bentley's heft down to a less-than-svelte 5,115 pounds. Torque split is shifted from 50/50 front/rear to 40/60 front/rear this year to help drivers feel more sport in their drive. Bentley continues the sport-feel by reducing the shift speeds in their Quickshift ZF automatic transmission by 50 percent, and offering double downshifts to help give an extra boost when the go-pedal is mashed to the floor.  

The Bentley's big twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 money-maker returns with even more bang for the buck gaining 15 horsepower and 37 lb-ft of torque over last year bringing the numbers to 567 and 516 respectively. Despite being a tipping the scales at over two and a half tons, the big GT hauls it's weight around better than a coked-up stockbroker hitting 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, 100 mph in 10.2 seconds and topping out at 198 mph before it runs out of steam. Fuel economy is a fairly reasonable 15 mpg overall.

Inside, the new model makes cows quiver. Leather covers every nearly every inch of the landscape, and spoils its driver with useful features like an eight-inch touch screen, backed up by a 30-gig hard drive with Google Map compatibility, complete with an SD card slot for all of those wonderfully unnecessary toys.

Outside, only those who are true fanatics will notice the differences between last year and this year. The front grille appears to stand a little taller, and Bentley fall in line with the newest luxo-fad, LED running lights. A retractable wing that was only available on Supersports models of the past, is now standard and automatically goes to work at 55 mph and above. The overall shape has been modified ever-so-slightly in the wind tunnel, which improves drag to 0.33Cd and reduces lift at both the front and rear to help stability at break the bank speeds.

Rumor has it that a new direct-injection twin-turbo V8 will be optional in late 2011 as an insurance policy against rising fuel costs. The new V8 will be 4.0 liters and improve emissions by 40%. But for now, only the W12 will be available when the new Continental GT hits showrooms this spring with a base price of $189,900. While it may not be a bargain, sometimes you do get what you pay for. And with the new 2012 Bentley Continental GT, you are getting one of the finest automotive investments out there as far as new cars go ... That is of course, if you can really afford it this time around ...

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cindysadams | 3:07PM (Mon, Dec 13, 2010)

Very nice retirement car.

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