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Bentley Continental GT

WAGS TO RICHES Published: 28th Feb 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Bentley Continental GT
Bentley Continental GT
Bentley Continental GT
Bentley Continental GT
Bentley Continental GT
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Like or loathe it, you can’t criticise this Continental’s current value for money

WHY WOULD I WANT THIS VW IN DRAG?

That’s a bit harsh. Yes, the current Bentley Continental GT is Volkswagen derived but it’s much more than a Phaeton saloon with a posher name and body. The car was a serious attempt by VW to make a modern Bentley and appeal to a new client base – and by and large the German succeeded.

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT ONE?

There’s plenty to like, not least the car’s astonishing value for money where steep depreciation has caused prices to drop from their 2003 price of £110,000 to well below £30,000 on the forecourt – and we’ve seen them go for just over 20K at auction!  If you appreciate engineering, you’ll love what went into making the Continental. And enthusiasts have nothing to carp about once they sample that thunderous V12 engine and grippy four-wheel drive chassis. Really it’s supercar with a super luxury touch that only a Bentley can provide.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO A MULSANNE TURBO OR THE EARLIER CONTINENTAL?

Chalk and Cheese! These Bentleys are decades apart and it shows on the road. The Continental’s platform is from the 1980 Mulsanne, which itself was a revamp of the 1965 Shadow, and as you’d expect has a hard job to handle those 400 horses.

The GT, by contrast, is thoroughly modern and possesses astonishing pace and poise from an all-wheel drive design that handles the power – that’s at least 150bhp to the good of the old Turbo Bentleys – superbly. The GT car is a supercar-beater yet wraps you in supreme comfort and conveniences much better than the surprisingly harsh Mulsanne, although that car does have a more classic feel to it, which some will say is what it’s all about.

There’s no winner here because it all boils down to how you like your Bentleys – but you can’t fail to be impressed with the twin turbocharged GT and its 552bhp – 600bhp on the Speed offshoot!

WHAT MODELS ARE THERE?

You can have the GT Coupé or the GTC convertible with Speed and Super Sports special editions offering even more power and a 200mph top speed… The Coupé’s are the cheapest to buy by a fair stretch, being around £8000 less year-for-year. As the GTC came out in 2005 you’re looking at £42-£50,000 depending where you buy one from.

IS IT TRUE SOME SPECIALISTS WON’T TOUCH THE GT?

Yes – and it’s partly due to prejudice. Some Bentley independents feel the car has sullied this great name and prefer to stick with the traditional models, although an increasing number of specialists are now accepting the car, after gearing up their workshops with correct tooling and diagnostic equipment – which isn’t cheap. Some involved repairs remain main dealer based, however.

I AM TOLD THAT THESE CARS COST MEGA BUCKS TO MAINTAIN

There’s a fair bit of truth in this which is why it’s essential to buy right and insist on a solid service history; you’re looking on the thick end of a grand to spend at each interval so make sure nothing’s been skipped over the years. The good news is that the fundamentals – like that magnificent V12 engine and transmission,  are very sturdy and should be okay. The biggest woes concern the electronics which can cost a fortune to fix.

For example the high tech key fob and starter motor are known to play up and to repair the latter means a £6000 engine out job – yes that’s right!

As with most modern cars, the electrics can have the occasional wobble but expensive. Flat batteries are very common if the key sensor is left too near the vicinity of the car overnight! The electronic parking brake module has been known to fail so check this fault has been cleared up. A lumpy idle and poor running has been reported, which is usually down to the individual coil packs failing. This is an old VW/Audi foible and while it’s relatively easy to diagnose it is still costly to rectify.

The tyre pressure monitors are a £900 repair bill if you want them working properly. Replaceable bits, such as those mighty brake discs and pads, can cost over £1500 to replace; thankfully, the expensive optional ceramic brakes appear to be almost wear-proof unless really used hard. Obviously, tyres won’t be cheap to replace either, and nor will smartening up shabby interiors and some hard used playthings do suffer from the latter. The good news is that more specialists are dealing with this model – but for sure it’s going to cost a lot more than a Mulsanne or even a Continental to keep sweet.

WHAT ABOUT THE WAG IMAGE THIS CAR HAS?

It’s unfortunate, but yes, the car does carry this regrettable stigma and it’s not helped by the fact that a good number of cars are blinged up with even larger wheels and tyres (20inch) than standard, as an example.

Due to the popularity of customising a Conti, in 2005 Bentley introduced the Mulliner pack which enabled the most popular extras to be added as one job lot. The most obvious upgrade is the 20-inch two-piece, seven-spoke alloy sports wheels with bespoke 275/35 R20 tyres. Also, part of the Mulliner package were drilled aluminium sports pedals and footrest, a gear lever finished in knurled chrome and hide, bold two-tone leather and veneer combinations with diamond quilted hide to facings, doors and rear quarter panels, ‘Bentley’ marque emblem on the seat facings and dark-stained Burr Walnut or Piano black veneer – so it depends on your taste…

I’M TEMPTED… BUT I’M HARDLY THE SORT TO WALK INTO A BENTLEY SHOWROOM AND ASK FOR A TEST DRIVE?

Well, we’d certainly advise test driving at least one or two to gain a datum and to see if you like the experience, so follow up some ads just to get a spin around the block; specialists aren’t as snobby as main dealers in this respect.

If you can’t find one, take a trip down to a VW dealer and try a Phaeton saloon that provided the platform for the Bentley. Apart from less power – ‘only’ 450bhp – they drive remarkably similar…



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