Track Tested: 2012 Bentley Continental GT


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The 2012 Bentley Continental GT doesn't look like a new car and, for the most part, it isn't. But along with the subtle yet instantly recognizable exterior tweaks, the new Continental has been tweaked to be a better driving machine. Bentleys are racing vehicles, don't forget.

The new Continental GT gets lighter aluminum suspension parts, standard 20-inch wheels, a 40:60 torque split (it was 50:50 before) plus an additional 15 horsepower and 37 pound-feet of torque. The final numbers work out to 567 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from a 6.0-liter W12. When the car was released, Bentley said the 5,200-pound hypercoupe would be capable of 0-60 acceleration in 4.4 seconds.

And we've finally had it on our track to separate the marketing hype from reality...

Vehicle: 2012 Bentley Continental GT
Date Tested: 6-14-2011
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $205,890

Specifications:
Drive Type: Longitudinal, front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 5,998/366
Redline (rpm): 6,225
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 567 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 516 @ 1,700
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent double wishbones, pneumatic springs, self-adjusting variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, pneumatic springs, self-adjusting variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 275/40 ZR20 106Y
Tire Size (rear): 275/40 ZR20 106Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical Summer performance
Wheel size: 20-by-9.5 inches front and rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 5,159


Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.0 with T/C on)
0-45 (sec): 3.3 (3.4 with T/C on)
0-60 (sec): 4.7 (4.9 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.4 (4.5 with T/C on)
0-75 (sec): 6.8 (7.1 with T/C on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.9 @ 109.8 (13.1 @ 107.7  with T/C on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 108

Handling
Slalom (mph): 67.5 (67.5 with T/C on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g):  0.88 (0.87 with T/C on)

Sound
Db @ Idle: 49.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 75.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.4

RPM @ 70: 1,600

Comments

Acceleration: Too much pedal overlap kills acceleration time. Small amount with carefully timed brake release seems to work. Best run with manual shift but that was coincidence. Column-mounted shift paddles will not hold gears at redline.

Braking: Long, soft pedal with long, soft effective point. Still, best braking run is very short for 5,200-pound car.

Handling: Skid pad: Lots of body roll even with suspension in stiffest damping setting. Could use more roll control. Big, but fairly easy to sense limit with ESC off. ESC On offers quite high level of performance without punishing hard driving. Slalom: ESC On nibbles at brake (individually) without ruining momentum. Throttle cut is minimal. ESC Off: Responds to lift throttle with rotation, albeit as slowly as expected for a 5,200-pound car. Still quite easy to drive.

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