Used 2016 Bentley Continental GT Review

The 2016 Bentley Continental GT blends world-class craftsmanship with new-age tech. It's an ultra-fast and ultra-luxurious grand tourer for those of the highest discerning taste.




what's new

There are no significant model changes for the 2016 Bentley Continental GT.

vehicle overview

It's a mile-long stretch to try and equate Bentley with Burger King. But in the sense that you can "have it your way" with both the famous burger chain and the 2016 Bentley Continental GT, we could very well be right. Would you like pickles and onions on your burger, or would you like carbon-ceramic brakes on your Conti that cost as much as a new Nissan Versa? See? Same thing.

The point is that you get plenty of choice with the 2016 Continental GT. A quick look at the numbers makes a compelling case for the "base" V8 car, with just a few tenths of a second separating it and a W12-powered Continental GT, sprinting to 60 or 100 mph. The V8 car is roughly 55 pounds lighter and averages about 4 mpg more in combined city and highway driving. Also, the sound and character of the V8 are excellent and very much befitting the character of a Bentley. That it costs about $20,000 less doesn't hurt, either.

If you simply must have 12 cylinders, though, then Bentley will not deny you this luxury. There are still two versions of the brand's signature W12 engine: one powering the traditional Continental GT and making 582 horsepower, and a hopped-up version with 626 hp sitting under the hood of the Continental GT Speed, the latter capable of exceeding speeds over 205 mph. These larger-engine cars don't really offer much usable benefit in day-to-day driving, but for the discerning luxury car buyer, a 200-mph W12 car is a great conversation-starter.

Regardless of the engine camp you belong to, the interior of every Bentley Continental GT boasts exceptionally high-quality materials and exquisite levels of craftsmanship that stand out even among other high-end luxury cars the GT competes with. Advanced German electronics technology and reliability combined with classic British style results in a cabin fit for royalty, and buyers can further customize it with a seemingly endless array of materials and color choices.

Depending on your needs or desires, there are some competitors that are worth considering. If it's true handling and performance you're concerned with, the 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo is an appealing -- if much more pedestrian -- pick. For some Italian sound and style, the 2016 Maserati GranTurismo will likely turn heads wherever you go. Much of the same could be said for the 2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT, which gets you the restrained style and beauty that Aston Martin does so well. But the 2016 Bentley Continental GT covers many bases well in terms of sport and luxury, and for some will continue to be the only choice when it comes to a proper grand touring car that you can have your own way.




trim levels & features

The 2016 Bentley Continental GT is a four-passenger coupe that may be ordered with a 12-cylinder engine or with an equally potent V8. There's also the convertible version, known as the Bentley Continental GTC.

Starting with the GT V8, standard features include 21-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive air suspension, keyless ignition and entry, automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, heated and power-folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a heated 12-way power driver seat, driver memory functions, a 10-way front passenger seat, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview camera. The standard eight-speaker audio system includes a CD player, satellite radio, digital music storage and an iPod interface and voice-controlled features. A navigation system is also included.

The more powerful V8 S is essentially identical, but rides on a lower, more firmly tuned suspension and has unique 20-inch wheels, red brake calipers and aero-optimized bodywork.

Notable stand-alone options for the GT V8 and V8 S include ventilated and massaging front seats, carbon-ceramic disc brakes, adaptive cruise control, separate front center armrests, a rear center console, a CD changer and a premium 14-speaker Naim audio system (includes CD changer).

Two Mulliner Driving Specification packages are also available that add 21-inch wheels, a jeweled fuel cap, drilled alloy pedals and unique interior trimmings like quilted and perforated seating. Finally, two Sports packages selectively add carbon-fiber interior trim, red brake calipers and a sport exhaust.

The W12-equipped Continental GT is equipped in a very similar fashion. The Classic Specification package adds chrome front grilles and extended veneer on the door panels, while the All Seasons Specification package adds a heated steering wheel and neck warmer.

Besides having the most powerful engine offered, the range-topping Continental GT Speed is equipped as a standard GT but also includes 21-inch wheels, dark tinted taillights, jeweled fuel and oil caps, a ski pass-through, a power trunk lid and twin front armrests.

Over the entire Continental GT lineup, most items are also available as stand-alone options. And, as with all Bentleys, buyers can choose from a dizzying array of exterior and interior colors, wheels, embroidery, stitching, piping and wood or metallic trim. The truly discerning buyer can also specify customized "Personal Commission" items: for a price, of course.



performance & mpg

The Bentley Continental GT and GTC are offered with a choice of either a V8 or W12 engine, both twin-turbocharged and both available in two outputs. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard across the line.

The V8 variants are powered by a 4.0-liter V8 that produces 500 hp and 487 pound-feet of torque, or 521 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque in the GT V8 S that also utilizes cylinder deactivation when cruising to optimize fuel economy. EPA-estimated fuel consumption is 19 mpg combined (15 city/25 highway) for the coupe and 17 mpg combined (14/24) for the GTC convertible. At our test track, a GT V8 coupe sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. An S version was slightly quicker at 4.1 seconds.

The W12 Continental GT and GTC are powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 engine producing 567 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. For the Continental GT Speed and GTC Speed, Bentley boosts this output to 626 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque. In our testing of a regular W12 Continental, we recorded a 4.1-second 0-60 time.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for both coupe and convertible stand at 15 mpg combined.

safety

The 2016 Bentley Continental GT comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, side airbags for all seats and a driver knee airbag. GTC convertibles also have a rollover protection system that automatically deploys from behind the rear seats.

In Edmunds brake testing, a GT V8 came to a stop from 60 mph in 111 feet. A GT Speed (with optional carbon-ceramic brakes) did it in 116 feet. The Continental GT V8 S (also with optional carbon-ceramic brakes) stopped a little shorter at 114 feet. Considering that the Bentley Continental weighs over 5,000 pounds, these distances aren't very surprising, but they are a few feet longer than average.

Driving

If you're looking for a uniquely exotic driving experience or one that is best received in small doses, the 2016 Bentley Continental GT is not your car. The Continental GT is a car that you can get in and drive with no special instruction, as well as a car you'd want to drive every day or cover some good distance in on a weekend road trip. It's deceivingly fast because of how quiet the cabin is, with little audible difference between 60 and 160 mph. And despite its size and weight, it'll handle curves with surprising deftness and composure.

No matter the engine choice, a torrent of propulsion is available anywhere in the rev range, pushing the car past extralegal speeds with ease. The 6.0-liter W12's horsepower is impressive. But it's the 516 lb-ft of torque available from just 1,700 rpm that is truly awe-inspiring. The V8 is fantastic as well. It manages to improve fuel economy by a generous 30 percent, and its performance is just as lively as the W12, but with a dynamic weight advantage. All things considered, the V8 is our pick.

As capable and comfortable as the Continental GT is, it's also not a sports car. Those looking for exotic style as well as incredible handling will be better served by a more purpose-built machine from the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari or McLaren.

Interior

Bentley has a reputation for beautiful interiors, and the Continental GT's cabin represents this well. They use some of the finest materials available, from rich supple leather to real wood veneers hand-crafted in Bentley's dedicated woodworking shop. It's a level of skill and attention to detail that defines the term "world class."

The fusion of high-tech convenience and classic charm keeps the Continental GT competitive in both function and form with its high-end contemporaries. The infotainment touchscreen interface is clear and intuitive to use, and the instrument panel features a sharp digital display flanked by analog gauges that are easy to read.

Space up front is abundant, as is seat comfort, but trying to accommodate rear-seat adult passengers will be a compromise for everyone. However, we'd expect most owners will more often carry the overflow from the 13-cubic-foot trunk than passengers. Of note, the convertible GTC's trunk is even smaller, holding only 9.2 cubic feet, but will still accommodate a standard golf bag with the woods removed.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.