Think of the two former generations of the Bentley Continental GT Speed. Think of the two Continental Supersports and 2014’s wild-looking, motorsport-inspired GT3-R. Now forget all of those, because Bentley says this new GT Speed is the most performance-focused model in its 101-year history.
Fairly big claim that, especially considering the Speed isn’t supposed to lose any of its luxury grand touring abilities. The interior is still cow-laden with 26 different colors of leather available, and the standard layout with four seats and a 235-liter trunk remains. There is alcantara and plenty of carbon fiber in there for that ‘sporty’ feel, but then you can also spec a range of veneers that includes four different types of walnut. Who knew there was such a variety of walnut in the world?
Anyway, the venerable 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 is also present and correct, although it’s now producing a frankly terrifying 650hp to match the 899Nm of torque. That power is still sent through Bentley’s eight-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox, but it’ll shift twice as fast in Sport mode as it would in the ‘standard’ W12 Continental GT.
The 0-100kph sprint is dispatched in 3.6sec—a 0.1sec improvement—and top speed is a useful 335kph. That’s all combined with what Bentley describes as a “greater exhaust character.” Lovely.
The GT Speed’s additional dynamic ability chiefly comes from its electronic all-wheel steering, which is significantly more active than it is on the Flying Spur, and an electronic limited-slip diff on the rear axle—the first ever applied to a Bentley.
The new carbon-ceramic brakes save 33kg (seemingly the only real attempt at weight shedding), while the four-wheel-drive system has been recalibrated to shunt more power and torque to the rear wheels in all drive modes. The electronic stability control has also been slackened off, and Bentley says the GT Speed will deliver “effortless, progressive yaw angles.” Or in other words, flipping massive skids. Now that’s luxury.
The styling is only slightly changed from the standard Conti. The Speed gets a couple of chrome badges on either flank, as well as dark tinted grilles, 22-inch wheels, and modified sills. Subtle, for the sportiest ever Bentley made.
More photos of the Bentley Continental GT Speed:
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.