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Bentley Continental GT

Bentley Continental GT Published: 11th Jul 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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VW mechanicals ● All wheel drive ● Amazing performance ● From £20,000

What’s their attraction?

Not everybody’s favourite Bentley it has to be said because the Continental GT, based upon the VW Phaeton saloon, has opened the brand up to a new type and class of buyer and because it’s almost mass produced (by Bentley standards) values have plummeted meaning you can pick up this all-wheel drive supercar for the price of an average TR6 and less than a Big Healey! The car’s unfortunate ‘WAGs’ image may not fit easy with everybody however.


You can’t compare the throughly modern GT with its earlier namesake which drew its lineage upon the 1965 Silver Shadow. It’s chalk and cheese leading to comments that the GT isn’t a real Bentley. That’s for you to decide but a test drive is likely to have you hooked. This wonder VW is a truly wonderful experience that does justice to any badge. Iron fist in a velvet glove is a good analogy that springs to mind even if early models did lack the sort of Bentley-level refinement you expect. Yes the ride can be jarring on rough surfaces, tyre noise is disappointingly loud, especially with the lorry-like 20inch wheel option, and early W12 engines weren’t silky smooth. However, the overall payback is the level of ability that most traditional of Bentley fans can’t fail to be impressed with (0-60mph in under five secs, 198mph top speed) and pace and the sure-footedness of the all-wheel drive chassis is astonishing.

Prices to pay

The GT’s rapidly depreciating curve is starting to level out so now is a good time to buy if the price is right. You can pick one up retail for less than £25,000 and perhaps as little as £17K at auction. The improved 2008 range is available from £40,000 which is just above the values of the first convertibles and on par with original Speeds. Given the car’s complexity and eye-watering potential repair costs, we’d always buy from a good Bentley specialist offering a comprehensive warranty.

Top buying tips

Budget well


The good news is that an increasing number of specialists are now catering for this model – but for sure it’s going to cost a lot more than a Mulsanne or even a Continental to keep sweet, meaning a continuous service history from a good repairer is critical. How many owners has it had?



Shouldn’t be a worry given the car’s newness and make up unless poorly repaired in the past, but look for stone chip damage at the front, broken grilles, scuffed bumpers and cracked headlamps. Chipped windscreens shouldn’t be dismissed lightly, either nor kerbed alloys.



Lumpy idle and poor running has been reported, which is usually down to the W12 individual coil packs playing up – an old VW/Audi foible.

Running gear


Electronic parking brake module has been known to fail so check that the fault has been cleared up. Hard driving will have knocked out dampers and bushes giving rise to a sloppy, noisy ride. Are the tyres of the correct size and quality? It’s a point which points to a cared for car.


Flat batteries are very common and may well need replacing to clear up any minor electrical niggles. 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! Also the centre brake light should mean a new screen costing thousands but some specialists have a fix for this.

Dates to remember

2003 New Continental GT replacement using Volkswagen and Audi hardware similar to former’s flagship Phaeton 6-litre twin turbo V12 saloon but with 552bhp and 500lb torque from the outset.

2005 Drophead GTC added to range, along with an often overlooked longer wheel-based Flying Spur saloon alternative. Optional Mulliner Driving Specification includes 20-inch alloys with 275/35 tyres (Note: Numerous bespoke builds were also offered).

2007 Special limited run versions (which are now highly prized) were introduced, such as the ‘Speed’ models packing 600bhp and 553lbft of meaty muscle; Diamond Series features special carbide brake discs.

2012 New range sees a twin turbo 4-litre V8 option with 500bhp.

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