The first official pictures the new Bentley Continental GT reveal an evolution of the outgoing grand tourer with a crisper, tauter outline.
As well as “jewelled” headlamps with LED daytime-running lights, a more upright radiator grille and the new “double horseshoe” rear profile first shown on the flagship Bentley Mulsanne, other key changes include a more powerful W12 engine with FlexFuel capability. This will be followed by a “high-efficiency” V8 petrol engine from late 2011.
Inside, there is a sweeping new dashboard and instrument panel, a new touchscreen infotainment system and automatic, electrically-operated front seatbelt ‘presenters’, to make getting in and buckling up easier. New front seats give rear-seat passengers an extra 46mm of legroom.
Bentley also promises a “dynamic, engaging driving experience” from the re-born GT thanks to a new ZF transmission that cuts shift times by 50 per cent and enables double downshifts.
Also new is a 40:60 rear-biased torque split for the all-wheel drive system, while stiffened front suspension uprights and aluminium die-castings at the rear are claimed to deliver better response and stability.
Power output from the six-litre W12 has been raised to 567bhp and 516lb ft torque, sufficient for 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 198mph.
“The W12’s extra power and torque and Quickshift transmission endow the new GT with instantly accessible supercar performance across the complete rev range,” claimed Brian Gush, chassis and powertrain director. “At the same time, pioneering use of FlexFuel technology underlines our ongoing environmental commitment.”
The new GT makes its debut at the Paris motor show, at which point it will officially go on sale with first the deliveries early next year. The current model costs £120,500 and Bentley says prices will remain “in that bracket”.