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The Continental GT & GTC

The Continental GT debuted in 2003 at the Geneva Auto Show. The car was called the most sporting Bentley since the original company went into receivership in 1931.

Designing the new car was groundbreaking as it was the first Bentley designed entirely on computer. The styling story of the Continental GT dates back to August 1999 when Dirk van Braeckel started on a design for an all-new Bentley coupé.

The company, and it's new owners, needed something sporty that would reinvigorate the brand and drive sales. It was decided that the car needed to honor Bentley's design past without creating a car that was 'inappropriately 'retro'. 1) The car needed short overhangs, minimal bright work, no b-pillar, and needed to compete with the fastest GT cars in the world.

The car was very well received by the public, with 3200 customers putting down deposits for the start of production. 2003 Continental GT base pricing2) was as follows:
UK: £110,000 including VAT
Switzerland: CHF239,200 including taxes
Euro Zone: €137,069 excluding taxes
USA: $149,000 (MSRP)

Launch Model Official Stats

Max speed over 190mph (300kph) 3)
0-60 mph: 4.7s (0-100 km/h: 4.8)
6.0 litre, twin turbo, 12 cylinders
Power: 552 bhp @6100 rpm
Torque: 650Nm (479 lb ft) @1600 rpm
Compression ratio: 09:01
Transmission: ZF produced 6-speed automatic, with converter lockup in all six gears, and driver gear selection via paddle shifters or the car's console shifter

Overall length: 4807mm
Width: 1918mm
Height: 1390mm
Wheel base: 2745mm

The Continental GT Speed and GTC Speed

The GT and GTC Speed models are more performance focused than the standard cars. Suspension is stiffer and lower than standard. The Speed models also typically carried about 10% more power than standard. All Speeds are 6.0l twin-turbo W12s and can be distinguished by black intake manifolds versus the standard aluminum.

Year by Year Changes


  • First year for the Continental GT; production car was unveiled at Geneva, March 3rd, 2003
  • First cars were delivered in the UK in October with units being delivered to other countries afterwards
  • Options available on launch cars:
    • Paint Colors: Diamond Black, Burnt Oak, Cypress, Neptune, Spruce, and Umbrian Red
    • Leather Colors: Beluga, Burnt Oak, Laurel, Nautic, Portland, Saffron, Savannah, Saddle
    • Wood Veneers: Burr Oak, Burr Walnut, Dark Stained Walnut, Madrona, Piano Black
    • Carpet & Seatbelt Colors: Beluga, Burnt Oak, Laurel, Nautic


  • Continuation of 2003 launch production - No significant changes


  • Mulliner Driving Specification (Details)
  • Electric trunk closer becomes standard
  • Flying Spur four door saloon introduced


  • GTC introduced
  • Interior updates including the addition of Magnolia hide
  • Voice control phone and bluetooth


  • Special Editions: Diamond Edition
  • Carbon Ceramic brakes debut (required 20“ wheels)
  • DVD Navigation replaces CDs


  • GT Speed debuts
  • Significant refresh of the model to address common issues with earlier cars
  • Weight dropped 77lbs due to redesigned suspension and cooling components
  • Rearview camera optional
  • Carbon ceramic brakes optional
  • 3-spoke steering wheel optional
  • Trip computer, Bluetooth, analog dashboard clock revised
  • New low-friction dampers
  • New 'Sport Traction' mode for the Bosch 8.1 ESP system
  • Bentley 'B' brake pedal
  • Exterior updates to include more upright front grille, wider from air intakes and chrome around the headlights
  • Two new exterior colors: Granite and Cumbrian Green
  • Two new interior colors: Newmarket Tan and Cumbrian Green


  • E85 (flex fuel) engines debut
  • Radar adaptive cruise control optional
  • Native iPod adapter
  • Naim Audio 13 speaker system optional
  • Park distance becomes standard



  • The last year for the convertible. The 2nd generation GTC would be a 2012 model.
  • Supersports production continues in GT and GTC bodies. The GTC has both rows of seats. The coupe could be specified with the same seating arrangement by selecting the 'comfort seating' option, which removed the Sparco carbon fiber buckets.


  • The factory built a handful of Supersports coupes in 2012 in the first gen body style
  • The GTC was built with a limited run of 100 ISR (Ice Speed Record)


  • Several GTCs were built as 2013 model years. Production amount is unknown. Cars were unique in that they had a version of the second generation Continental's HVAC and Nav system install (pictured)

Special Editions

Series 51

Special edition for 2010. Named after the year that the first official styling department was established in Crewe by John Blatchley4). The Series 51 was available on both the GT and the GTC.

The cars and unique colors from the regular production series. Bentley's Colour and Trim team designed specially tailored three-tone interiors and a range of premium-quality materials for the dashboard and centre console to complement the interiors.

Dark and Bright 'Engine Spin' aluminium options provide a striking contrast with darker and lighter hide colour choices and a special, limited-edition Amboyna veneer reserved for solely for Series 51. A 20” 14-spoke polished Diamond wheel with a dark centre cap provided Series 51 cars with a purposeful and stylish appearance. The cars were also distinguished by a signature '51' badge on the front wings.

Diamond Edition

In 2007, Bentley built the Diamond Edition to commemorate 60 years of hand assembled car production in Crewe. The car was built to the Mulliner Driving specification and was the first time carbon ceramic brakes were used on a Bentley.

The exterior of the Diamond Edition Continental GT's were distinguished with badges, unique door sills, unique 14 spoke 20“ wheels, and three special colors: Moroccan Blue (bright blue), Anthracite (grey black) and Meteor (steel blue grey). The car could also be ordered in any of 15 standard GT colors. 5)

A Diamond Edition Arnage was also built. The total number of Diamond GTs built is 400.


In 2009 Bentley announced a limited production run of the Continental GT Supersports. The name Supersports came from very early Bentleys. With E85, the Supersports was the most powerful Bentley ever produced. It's 6.0l twin-turbo W12 put out 621hp and 590lb ft of torque. The W12 was fitted to a new gearbox which offered 50% faster shifts. The Supersports was the first Continental to have front/rear torque split of 40/60%.

Unlike the Speed models, which retained the standard Continental's chrome trim, the Supersports had all of its trim painted gloss black. To get more air to the engine, it has larger lower air intakes and unique vents in its hood. The car also had unique wheels and subtle Supersports badge behind the front wheels and below the belt line. The rear track and fenders were widened by 2” over the standard Continental.

Inside, the car launched with no back seat. Instead a carbon fiber brace stiffened the body and acted to prevent cargo from sliding forward. To save weight, the cars were initially fitted with manual carbon fiber racing seats from Sparco. The interior was wrapped in leather and Alcantera with a unique diamond stitching pattern. In response to customer demand, Bentley later added a Comfort Seating option, which restored the backseat and power front seats.

Total production for the Supersports is unknown but is believed to be about 800 coupes and 500 convertibles, 100 of which were ISR models, which are discussed below.

Supersports ISR

To commemorate setting a Supersports convertible setting a world record for top speed on ice by a production car, Bentley produced a limited number of GTC Supersports with unique exterior details. Limited to 100 units, the GTC Supersports Ice Speed Record (ISR) cars had colorful accents and painted wheels.

models/continental_gt_1st_gen.txt · Last modified: 2017/12/22 22:12 (external edit)

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