BBC Autos

Review

First drive: Bentley Continental GT Speed

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What is it? That's easy - it's Bentley's fastest-ever production car, capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in four seconds and on to a top speed of 205 mph.

In other words, 0.3 seconds quicker and 7 mph faster than the standard W12 Conti.

So it's not slow then...
Nope, this is certainly not slow. Peak power is 616 bhp and maximum torque is 590 pound-feet, thanks to the bi-turbo, 6-litre W12 engine. All those figures roughly translate as one almighty shove in the back if you bury your right foot, and that sense of acceleration simply never diminishes, no matter what speed you hit. We did 174 mph on the autobahn in Germany, and it was still pulling hard.

But is it just an autobahn basher?
No. The Speed handles well and doesn't feel like a blunt instrument on a winding road, despite what you might think given this car's size and weight. You don't have to be doing silly speeds to have an enjoyable time in it, because there's just about enough feedback through the chassis and steering.

And despite being lowered by 10 mm over the normal Conti GT, the speed doesn't feel uncomfortable. Like the normal car, there are four suspension settings to choose from, but to be honest I can't see the point. Stick it in the most comfortable one and leave it there. It rides best like this, and it doesn't wallow in the corners.

You sound impressed.
I am. It's a good car that customers will love, containing enough of the Conti GT, but with things turned up a bit more. Even the visual differences are subtle, like the unique 21-inch wheels and gun metal radiator grille.

But if it was my money, I'd still get the V8 Conti. Not because this Speed isn't a great car, but because the V8 does nearly all the same things, is just as quick away from the German autobahns, and is £27,150 cheaper.

But then who buys a Bentley because it's cheap?