Real while you occur to suspect the dynamic chances of a 2.3-tonne GT automobile had been pushed to their limits, the goalposts inch again.
The factor is, we’re effectively responsive to how right the fashioned W12 Bentley Continental GT is to pressure. It’s a ways more nimble than one thing of that dimension and weight has any upright to be – the luxo-coupe corners in a flat and serene manner with an worthy provide of grip and traction. Except you push lawful a little a ways, and you’re reminded that the felony pointers of physics attain certainly gathered exist, no matter how efficiently the Conti makes you have confidence you studied it’s bending them.
The three-chamber air suspension and active anti-roll bars attain a stunning job as much as a couple degree, but beyond it, that you just can salvage a wholesome dose of understeer. And that’s all around the constraints of a public motorway – Bentley’s resolution to hand a bunch of journalists some Continental GT Speeds at Silverstone’s pudgy Sizable Prix circuit appeared esteem a fish-out-of-water nervousness that’d merely spotlight what the auto can’t attain somewhat than what it would possibly per chance presumably well well comprise to.
But with the Flee no longer licensed to be used on UK roads unless September, it appeared terrifying no longer to salvage an early preview. Plus, the Flee has some extra tricks up its sleeve. In the origin, the all-wheel pressure system has been rejigged so it favours the rear wheels more than in the out of the ordinary W12 Conti, secondly, there’s a fresh electronically-managed rear differential, and in the smash, it has a rear-wheel guidance system. Yes, the Flying Spur has the latter too, but this one’s described by Bentley as being “significantly more active”. Amazing.
All of these items comes together to sharpen up the Continental significantly. We’ve taken substantial, lardy things no longer off beam that don’t belong there sooner than, but this isn’t the identical experience. There isn’t that sound of tortured front tyres or the disappointingly low cornering speeds.
Genuinely, that you just too can uncover stuff a ways sooner than that you just too can search knowledge from, and the Flee lawful clings on. It took just a few laps to recalibrate my expectations, letting the Continental nicely narrate on its promise of being “doubtlessly the most dynamic Bentley motorway automobile in history”. We’d deserve to salvage it on a windy B-motorway to in point of fact suss out the decrease-paddle operation of the all-wheel guidance, which turns the rear wheels in the reverse path to the fronts, but when they’re guidance in unison on the sooner bits, the GT feels incredibly steady and confidence-animated.
Dauntless entry speeds will inevitably consequence in understeer, but the rejigged all-wheel pressure system is more than overjoyed to counter that with a loss of traction at the replacement terminate. And that’s even with the electronic stability control fully on – it’ll fortunately inch spherical nicely on the replacement hand the electronics are bother.
Fresh for the paddle is one thing Bentley calls ‘Charisma Dependent ESC’, which adapts to how you’re riding. ESC Sport is a good stepping stone to turning the total lot off, allowing the aid terminate to hang spherical dazzling a ways sooner than the auto gently nudges you aid in line. Dash without, and substantial, infantile skids are which that you just too can imagine. And even spins, while you occur to suck at drifting and are making an strive to salvage some yaw for the digicam. I’m told…
As for the Speeds’, erm, paddle, there’s less of a hole between it and the out of the ordinary model than there would possibly per chance be with the chassis performance. An extra 24bhp isn’t great of a difference when the starting level is 626bhp, even though the fresh output of 650 does slit two tenths off the 0-62mph time for a fresh figure of three.6 seconds.
The engine is as unfamiliar as ever, sounding more esteem an especially muscular V6 than one thing with 12 cylinders. You no doubt no longer truly deserve to rev it out, especially with high torque of 664lb ft on hand across an even bigger unfold. Top energy meanwhile is felt from 5000-6000rpm. A substantial, wide song esteem Silverstone blunts one of the most sensation of acceleration, but we were certainly arriving at the terminate of the straights at a horrifying charge.
Fortuitously, the brakes are bloody broad. The finest in the arena, the truth is, with the no longer predominant carbon ceramics measuring 440mm in diameter up front. As is the case with the 33kg heavier steel brakes, the fronts are squeezed by 10-piston calipers.
The frigid-down lap gave a risk to experience the Continental’s foremost occasion fragment, which is the cabin. It’s no longer all that various to any various Conti, put for an lengthen in Alcantara utilization alongside with some Flee badging, but why fiddle with the recipe? It’s totally stunning in here, with dapper Bentley predominant aspects esteem the steel organ live vent controls and diamond-quilted leather-based fully sitting neatly alongside bits borrowed from in other locations in the VW Team.
Given the replacement, I’d comprise fortunately nipped thru one among Silverstone’s enormous pit garages, left the sprawling song facility, and kept riding. To the establish, I don’t truly know, but these miles would comprise certainly passed with ease.
That’ll be the GT Flee’s excellent strength, which we’ll salvage to search out once again. For tearing up a substantial F1-spec circuit meanwhile, a job it doesn’t deserve to attain, the Flee does a stellar job.