After British brand Bentley Motors became a part of Volkswagen in 1998, the first model that it came out with was the Bentley Continental Grand Tourer (GT). It has been produced in volumes since 2003 – the first Bentley really to be given the mass-production treatment. Notably, it shares a platform with the Volkswagen Phaeton. It could be differentiated from the previous Continental R & T models by looking at how it was conceptualized.
It’s believed that Bentley’s transformation into a major brand known all over the world is largely credited to the success of the Continental GT. It isn’t a coach-built vehicle and while it is mass-produced, a substantial part of the entire process is still accomplished by hand. By doing this, Bentley was able to sell it in a much lower price – approximately half of the cost of a Continental R.
Because of its affordability, it drew in plenty of new customers from a wider demographic. It was at the Geneva Motor Show in 2003 that the Continental GT was introduced. The first-generation Continental GTC received excellent reviews and its elegance impressed consumers as well as the important players in the auto industry. The excitement for this new grand tourer was mostly centered on its impeccable silhouette – a trademark of Bentley’s famed convertible range.
Its craftsmanship is of course, beyond reproach, as is the case with any model produced by Bentley. Its proportions are lauded for their precision but with the addition of the most advanced technologies available for vehicles at the time, the competition didn’t stand a chance. Powered by a 6-litre, 12-cylinder turbocharged engine, the Continental GT had the capability of delivering unparalleled power and torque. It caused such a splash in this segment that it appeared that its momentum would continue indefinitely.
However, with the changing priorities of potential buyers, adjustments had to be made. For instance, Bentley had to accommodate those who wanted better fuel economy and offered a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. Sales grew quickly upon the launch of the Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The coachwork history of the Continental GT continues to be evident in its sculpted modern structure with lines that are crisp and clearly defined. The topmost standards of construction and quality were utilized in the making of its body, giving it outstanding integrity and sophistication. But for the new models, Bentley took an approach that was a bit more dramatic.