Posts from ‘Bentley’
At the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Bentley showed off its 2014 Continental GTC Speed, the high-performance version of its popular Continental GTC exotic convertible.
The GT Speed Convertible is powered by a turbocharged 616-horsepower W12 hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. (Non-Speed Continentals with the W12 engine have 567 horsepower). The Speed treatment includes a lowered suspension, a unique black intake manifold, retuned steering, 21-inch wheels (available in silver or dark-tinted), dark-chrome front grilles, and the “Mulliner Driving Specification,” which includes drilled accelerator and brake pedals, diamond-quilted upholstery on the seats and door panels, a knurled gear lever, and optional embroidered emblems in the seat backs. Options include carbon-fiber or wood interior trim, dark-colored machine-turned aluminum panels on the dashboard, and a high-end “Naim for Bentley” audio system.
The transmission shifter is equipped with a Sport mode gate, and it conjures up quicker throttle response, higher-rpm shifts, and faster kick-down shifts. Just like all other Bentley Continentals, the 2014 GT Speed Convertible is all-wheel drive.
All told, this droptop reaches 60 mph from a stop in 4.1 seconds and peaks at 202 mph. Not that Bentley buyers typically care, but the 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is rated to get 12 mpg city/20 mpg highway.
It was fast, faster, and fastest for Bentley at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The British purveyor of ultra-high-end vehicles showcased two production vehicles and one race car at its booth.
For those high rollers who want to roll fast, Bentley offers the 2013 Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification. The Mulsanne is Bentley’s flagship car. The Mulliner package includes unique wheels, leather upholstery, and an adjustable sport suspension. The drivetrain remains the same as other Mulsannes: a 6.75-liter turbocharged V8 that pumps out 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Despite a curb weight 24 pounds shy of three tons, the car can sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 184 mph. No pricing or availability was announced, but if you have to ask . . . .
For those high rollers who want to roll faster, Bentley has the 2013 Continental GT Speed. Billed as the fastest road-going Bentley ever, the GT Speed sports a 616-horsepower 6.0-liter turbocharged 12-cylinder engine. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the car is capable of running the 0-60 sprint in 4.0 seconds and hitting a top speed of 205 mph. Though final certification has yet to take place, Bentley is confident that the car will achieve a 20-mpg highway rating from the EPA. The 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed is available now with a starting price of $220,725, which includes a $3,000 federal gas-guzzler tax.
Consumer Guide Automotive editors are a discerning bunch. When rating vehicles in the category of Acceleration, they have to be blown away—almost literally—before they will bestow a perfect score of 10. Horsepower is not enough; editors look for a car that’s quick from a stop and delivers smooth, linear power.
For model-year 2012, CGA editors lauded 18 cars with perfect 10s for acceleration. (Unfortunately, we did not get the chance to test many exotics, including Ferraris and Lamborghinis.)
Perfect 10s for Acceleration
Powertrain: 510-hp 6.0-liter V12, 6-speed automatic transmission w/manual-shift capability
CG Says: “The exhaust note is intoxicating, and it accelerates with the ferocity you’d expect from a 12-cylinder sports car.”
Powertrain: 510-hp 5.9-liter V12, 6-speed manual transmission
CG Says: “Accelerates as well as you would expect from a supercar with 510 horsepower. Throttle response is outstanding in any situation. The manual transmission is a joy to use.”
Powertrain: 420-hp 4.2-liter V8, 6-speed manual transmission; 525-hp 5.2-liter V10, 6-speed manual transmission
Also see Tom’s “What Would Star Trek Crewmembers Drive? Part 1”
Last time, we looked at the rides of Deanna Troi, Jean-Luc Picard, and Spock. This week, let’s check in with the original captain, the guy with the positronic brain, and the first Klingon to serve in Star Fleet. As before, we’re looking at production vehicles. Also, we’re assuming these guys don’t have budget issues.
James T. Kirk
What can you say about a guy who has saved everyone in the universe a dozen times over? He’s brash, brilliant, solidly egotistical, and inarguably cool. Kirk is a guy who values power and prestige—and he likes company. Kirk’s a talker, and thrives in front of an audience, so he needs a real back seat. For him, I choose a big, fast sedan. Something that’s a little less subdued than a Mercedes, but not quite so baroque or ponderous as a Rolls-Royce. For the man who beat Khan, I pick the Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed. The car’s boisterous five-word name alone pays tribute to a man whose legend is larger than life. With 600 horsepower on tap, the Flying Spur gets about as close to warp speed as any land-based vehicle should. And with space for an audience, Kirk can regale a small entourage with tales of green-lady conquests and evenings laced with Romulan ale.
Bentley is putting the final touches on a major update of its Continental Flying Spur sedans. According to Britain’s Autocar magazine, the revised versions will launch in late 2013 with fresh styling, a first-time V8 option, revamped interiors, and assorted technical changes.
This makeover follows a similar redo for the brand’s 2012-model Continental GT coupes and GTC convertibles. But where those 2-door cars received only modest appearance changes, the Flying Spur adopts a noticeably sleeker, less-formal look via new outer body panels—or so we deduce from Autocar’s photo of a late-stage prototype caught testing in Spain. Though wheelbase is reportedly unchanged and other external dimensions are little altered, the restyle apparently brings a lower roof line with more steeply angled front and rear glass, plus crisper lower-body lines, especially at each end. The prototype also hints at muscular new wheelarch bulges and a possible ride-height reduction of an inch or more. Inside, says Autocar, “the Spur will get a new [dashboard], shared with the  GT coupe, featuring higher-grade minor switchgear . . . new materials and luxury carpet.”
The executives at Rolls-Royce will be pleased to know that Consumer Guide honored the 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Sedan as the top-rated U.S.-sold vehicle, giving it a score of 84. But they also must deal with this reality: The 2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur tied the Phantom with an 84 score . . . and is less than half the price. While Rolls officials can boast of the brand’s prestige and that their cars are largely handmade, Bentley is no slouch. Queen Elizabeth herself has planted her royal heiny in the back seat of a Bentley. The Flying Spur’s starting price of $184,200 makes the Phantom Sedan’s $380,000 price tag seem outrageously bloated.
Consumer Guide editors give the Flying Spur perfect 10s for room/comfort front, room/comfort rear, and interior details. It scored a 9 for acceleration, which is amazing considering that the car weighs more than 5,500 pounds. Much of the vehicle’s cost goes to the turbocharged 12-cylinder engine. “How smooth can a rocket launch be?” writes Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel. “Pretty damn smooth, apparently. Silky shifts, profound power, awesome engine noise.”
Read more about the 2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
Perhaps it’s my absurdist bent or fondness for underdogs, but Tom Appel’s recent blog on good-looking “middle-age” coupes somehow got me thinking about stylish sedans. No such thing, you say? Then allow me to present seven fab four-doors that can turn heads anywhere. Not only that, but each is a bona fide collectible automobile. (See magazine of the same name. Better yet, subscribe. It helps pay the freight around here.)
Note that we’re covering only the “post sedan” body style (fixed center roof pillars), which most always outsells all others where there’s a choice and is arguably the toughest to make sexy. We’ve purposely excluded the glamour-puss post-free hardtop sedans of old, as well as custom-coachbuilt designs. Note, too, that we’ve limited selections to the 1930-70 era, mainly to give us an excuse for considering newer models some other time.
1936-37 Cord 810/812 Beverly and Westchester (see photo above)
Over the last few years, I’ve found it interesting to see the emergence of non-glossy paint jobs on some new cars. Mostly appearing on exotic cars these days, matte- or satin-finish paint is something that is very dear to me. I’ve been enamored with the look since I first began to see it in the 1990s on vintage custom cars being built primarily on the West Coast.
Although I’m no expert on paint or the reasoning for why this trend emerged, I speculate that it could be as simple as a customizer admiring the unique presence a car has while it is in the base coat before the clear is applied. As opposed to older single-stage paints in which the color has a gloss to it right out of the gun, modern multi-stage paints consist of a base coat that supplies the color and a protective clear coat that provides the gloss. Many of these color-base coats, especially those that contain pearlescent pigments, have a glow about them that can be very impressive before the clear is applied. The satiny effect (without the clear coat) is dramatic, but an unprotected base coat can be vulnerable to scratches, stains, and fingerprints. Adding a flattening agent to the clear allows for protection for the color as well as maintaining the eerie glow.
While strolling around the 2012 New York Auto Show, I spied this Bentley Mulsanne. During the “public” days of an auto show, vehicles of this caliber are usually cordoned off and well out of reach of the masses. However, during the “press” days, most automakers’ products are accessible and interaction is encouraged.
Take this Bentley Mulsanne. It, along with the Continental GT V8 and Continental GTC V8, were stationed in the fenced-off Bentley display. The only way for “mere mortals” to smell the leather in these tempting pieces of transportation is to somehow convince those working the booth that you have serious intentions (and the means) of purchasing such a vehicle.
But journalists, and other vetted individuals wandering around the show floor during the press preview, can simply walk right into the exhibit if the gate is open. It usually doesn’t hurt to catch the eye of the gatekeeper and politely ask if you can sit in the car. After performing these steps, I found myself in the driver seat of the Mulsanne.