The 2009 Bentley Continental GT is a premium luxury coupe available in one loaded trim level. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, an electronically adjustable air suspension, bi-xenon headlamps with washers, an automatically deploying rear spoiler, parking sensors, keyless ignition and entry, a power opening/closing trunk, a full leather interior with a choice of primary and secondary hides in 17 colors, burr walnut trim, multizone automatic climate control with rear-seat controls, 14-way power heated front seats, memory functions, Bluetooth, a navigation system and a 10-speaker stereo with satellite radio and a glovebox-mounted six-CD changer. Options include carbon ceramic brakes (only available with optional 20-inch wheels), adaptive cruise control, a three-spoke sport steering wheel (heated or regular), an 1,100-watt 13-speaker Naim sound system with two subwoofers, an iPod input jack, massaging front seats, four upgraded interior veneers and a rearview camera. There are also a variety of special-order options known as Mulliner Driving Specification that range from more exclusive veneers and lamb’s-wool carpeting to diamond-quilted seating surfaces and specialized exterior paint colors.
Underneath the AWD 2009 Bentley Continental GT’s hood is a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine with 12 cylinders arranged in the Volkswagen Group’s unique W formation. The W12 cranks out 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available at just 1,600 rpm. Paired to a six-speed automatic with steering-column-mounted paddle shifters, this massive engine whisks the big Bentley from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds en route to a 12.8-second quarter-mile at 108 mph — not quite as quick as the CL600, but still good enough to match the Audi R8 supercar. Fuel economy, should anyone care, is EPA estimated at 10 mpg city/17 highway and 13 combined. The Bentley Continental GT’s cabin is a standout, even in this rarefied segment. The metal accents, rich wood trim and soft leather will make buyers feel as if they got their money’s worth and then some. There’s a charming old-world feel to the whole affair, highlighted by push-pull vent controls, a Breitling timepiece, and switches and levers constructed of real metal. Unfortunately, the infotainment system is old-world as well — Bentley hasn’t changed it since the Continental GT’s 2004 introduction, and it shows in the undersized display screen and nonintuitive interface. Double-pane side glass blocks wind noise and helps keep the cabin as quiet as a reading room. Interior controls are intuitive enough that most drivers will be able to figure everything out without cracking the owner’s manual. There’s room for two shorter passengers in back, but only if those in front are in a generous mood; otherwise, the backseat is good for parcels and puppies only. The 13-cubic-foot trunk provides ample cargo space for a car of this type.
The last time we weighed a Continental GT, we wondered if our scale needed recalibration. Nope; turns out our 5,177-pound measurement was right on target. Given that it’s heavier than many SUVs, this Bentley’s fleet-footed acceleration is truly remarkable. It can’t hide all those pounds in corners, though, where nimbler competitors will show it their taillights. (The uprated Continental GT Speed model fares better in this regard.) Happily, the regular GT is a champ at smoothing out rough surfaces, and its real-world acceleration and handling will be more than enough for most buyers.
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