Used 2001 Bentley Continental Review

Edmunds expert review

The Continental coupe lacks the sleek body and technological feast of its less expensive competitors, but these Bentleys pour out staggering amounts of power and are hand-stitched to suit. It's all a matter of priorities, we suppose.

What's new for 2001

This ultra-luxe sport coupe was introduced in 1991, with the high-performance Continental T joining the clan in 1996. There have been no alterations to the Bentleys in subsequent years.

Vehicle overview

It's just so vexing. You pay a princely sum for an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, but the meager 400 pound-feet of torque rein you in. Darn it, it's just a plain laggard when you're trying to pass that supersonic Concorde! For those times when you just gotta have more, Bentley proudly presents the Continental Coupes. The Continental is the only Bentley that doesn't share its underpinnings with any of the Rolls-Royce hooligans. It is available in two configurations, the R and the T. The Continental R is the four-seat coupe equipped with a turbocharged 6.75-liter V8 brewing forth 400 horses and 590 pound-feet of torque.

Opt for the sport-tuned Continental T, and you'll get a shortened wheelbase, lowered and firmer suspension, a wider track and, most importantly, a specially tuned engine. Does a staggering 650 pound-feet of torque that literally bellows to life at the touch of a starter button sound appealing to you? We'll bet it does. You'll also get the pleasure of boasting the greatest peak torque output of any production car in the world. Riding on 18-inch alloy wheels, it quickly hustles this 5,401-pound leviathan from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

You can also get a Mulliner edition, a Bentley fresh from Gold's Gym, for both the Continental T and R, with the capacity to surge from standstill to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds thanks to a 420-horse engine, made possible by a watercooled turbocharger. Upgraded antiroll bars (40 percent stiffer at the front, 20 percent out back) provide Velcro-like grip on the road, and the Mulliner has a quicker steering rack.

Handling all those horses so that the driver doesn't go hog wild are a viscous limited-slip differential to distribute power evenly, four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel ABS, Automatic Ride Control (ARC) that provides computer control of the suspension dampers to optimize ride comfort and handling, as well as an electronic stability control and traction control system to aid the driver under adverse driving circumstances.

Inside, you'll find hand-stitched Connolly leather as lustrous as Robert Redford's hair, hand-finished wood trim and thick Wilton lamb's wool carpets covering just about every surface in any color you desire. A cellular telephone, power remote outside mirrors and a six-disc CD changer with remote control mounted in the front seat armrest are some of the standard features. Each Continental is hand-made to order (much like a BK Whopper) and fully equipped; no factory-installed options are available.

Yes, the Bentley Continental is a sight to behold (and a rare one at that) as well as a blistering performer. It possesses a heavy, bulbous presence (much like Brando during the past two decades), lacking the sleek, aerodynamic look and technological marvel of competitors like the Aston Martin Vanquish or even the "lowly" Mercedes-Benz CL600. Given the huge disparity in price, we can't come up with many reasons to recommend the Bent over others aside from the min-boggling torque.

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.