Bentley is vesting its third-generation Continental GT with a host of technology and performance upgrades to keep what has been its most critical nameplate from being overshadowed by the celebrated Bentayga SUV.
The redesigned model is lighter and more powerful than its predecessor and restyled in a bid to attract a younger segment of the world's wealthiest car buyers. It rides on VW Group's new MSB platform, which also underpins Porsche's latest Panamera sedan. This chassis and a new aluminum body help the Continental GT shed 176 pounds.
Bentley unveiled the third-generation model last week ahead of its official debut at this month's Frankfurt auto show.
The Continental GT has been crucial to Bentley's 21st-century resurgence, selling more than 66,000 copies since it was introduced in 2003. A continuous stream of variants — V-8, convertible and high-performance — have helped keep the car fresh throughout each generation; the second-gen model launched in 2011.
Yet with the recent release of the Bentayga, itself expected to be a volume player for Bentley, the third generation of the Continental GT doubled down on performance and technology.
"The new Continental GT encapsulates our desire to innovate as well as celebrate our heritage and take the Bentley ownership experience to the next, unparalleled level," Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said in a statement.
The massive, 6.0-liter turbocharged W-12 engine is new to the Continental GT, and shared with the Bentayga. In the GT, it makes 626 hp and 664 pounds-feet of torque, a healthy increase from the earlier car's 582 hp and 531 pounds-feet of torque.
The car's power is pushed to the wheels via a new active all-wheel-drive system that focuses on rear-wheel drive as much as possible, reducing the understeer common in awd systems.
An eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is also new, replacing the earlier eight-speed automatic. The car also features an active air suspension.
This Continental GT will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 207 mph, Bentley said.
The third-generation GT will arrive in the U.S. next year as a 2019 model. Pricing and fuel economy details will be released closer to its on-sale date.