Bentley Continental GT3-R is a limited-edition racer for the street

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R DEFINES A NEW CHAPTER IN PERFORMANCE-FOCUSSED LUXURY

- Inspired by the Continental GT3, the ultimate GT: Two seats, 580 PS, 700 Nm and 100 kg lighter than a GT V8 S
- Limited to just 300 examples for guaranteed exclusivity
- Torque vectoring combines with shorter gearing for the most dynamic Bentley road car in history
- Hand built in Crewe and finished by Bentley Motorsport

(Crewe, 17th June 2014) Bentley announces the rarest and most dynamic member of the esteemed Continental family of Grand Tourers with the arrival of the new Continental GT3-R. It is inspired by the new Continental GT3 race car that stormed to victory at the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone, the first UK race for Bentley for 84 years. Blending proven track and road credentials, the Continental GT3-R is a highly exclusive and unique interpretation of performance-focussed luxury, limited to just 300 examples.

All 300 examples of the Continental GT3-R will be hand-built in Crewe and finished in Bentley’s Motorsport division, while a range of exclusive experiences will be available to all customers of the GT3-R.

Bentley engineers have developed a retuned version of Bentley’s race-proven, high performance 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 for this new two-seater GT. Developing 580 PS (572 bhp / 426 kW) and 700 Nm of torque, together with a 100 kg weight reduction and shorter gearing, the Continental GT3-R is the fastest-accelerating Bentley ever. Capable of reaching 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.8 secs), the GT3-R is a Grand Tourer with the performance of a racer.

Complementing the revised powertrain is a further development of Bentley’s renowned all-wheel drive system, which now features torque vectoring for the first time. Together with modified Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and a chassis tune optimised for outright cornering ability, the Continental GT3 R is the most dynamic, responsive and involving Bentley road car ever.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, comments:
“The experience of driving a Continental GT3-R is awe-inspiring, and takes the dynamic abilities of our Grand Tourer to new heights. We were inspired to create something extremely special for the road by the performance of our Continental GT3. It is a celebration of the Bentley passion for building outstanding drivers’ cars. To be a true Bentley, the GT3-R had to be the most luxurious track-inspired Grand Tourer ever, and this car pushes our trademark combination of luxury and performance to a new level.”

A Revised Powertrain Developed For Acceleration

For the GT3-R, Bentley’s powertrain division set about developing a special combination of engine, driveline and exhaust to create an evocative, powerful yet efficient system. Bentley’s popular and widely acclaimed 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine, now race proven by the Continental GT3, has been fitted with precision-honed high-boost turbochargers and developed with new engine control software to liberate 580 PS at 6,000 rpm and 700 Nm of torque from 1,700 rpm.

This increased power is fed through the Continental’s eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, now with shorter output gearing to enhance acceleration, to Bentley’s renowned all-wheel drive system. For the first time for a Bentley, the drivetrain has the ability to control the torque at each of the rear wheels through the use of torque vectoring. Recalibrated control software means that Drive and Sport modes are moved further apart, each with different characteristics and with Sport mode designed for more spirited driving. Maximum driver control is provided by completely recalibrated paddle shift functionality.

A soundtrack appropriate to the new levels of performance is provided by an all-new titanium exhaust, which not only provides a weight saving of 7 kg but also has allowed Bentley’s acoustic engineers to give the GT3-R a unique baritone roar.

A Chassis System For Ultimate Driver Engagement

To provide a dynamic capability unmatched in the Grand Touring sector, the GT3-R receives a chassis system focussed on performance whilst retaining a cossetting level of refinement for everyday use. Air springs and dampers use a development of the sports-tuned setup from the Continental V8 S, already recognised as the best-handling Bentley ever, while lightweight forged 21″ wheels and high-grip Pirelli tyres deploy the torque-vectored power output of the engine.

This combination, together with a sport-focussed Electronic Stability Control programme, offers a Continental with a new level of handling dynamics and turn-in agility, while both the chassis and powertrain respond immediately to throttle inputs.

Deceleration is via Bentley’s record-holding Carbon Silicon Carbide (CSiC) braking system. 420 mm front discs are slowed by 8-piston calipers finished in eye-catching green paint, while 356 mm discs are fitted to the rear axle. With the ability to absorb up to 10 megajoules of energy (enough to power a family home for six hours) in a single stop yet remain fade resistant, Bentley’s CSiC brakes are an engineering masterpiece in their own right.

Commenting on the performance of the new Continental GT3-R, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Rolf Frech, comments:

“We wanted to develop our powertrain and chassis systems further than ever before for the GT3-R project. The result is a Continental GT that is more dynamic than ever, with a torque vectoring system that neutralises understeer and a chassis tune that is both direct and forgiving. We’ve differentiated the Drive and Sport modes further to give the driver a choice between a relaxed and refined Grand Tourer and a sharp supercar with instant responses. The reflexes of the car are matched by the throttle response from our redeveloped V8 engine, and the new turbochargers eliminate turbo lag. Bentleys are rewarding drivers’ cars – but dynamically, the GT3-R is our finest hour yet.”

Delivering Luxury Together With Extreme Performance

All Bentleys are a combination of luxury and performance, and the Continental GT3-R is no exception. Featuring a unique two-seat cabin handcrafted from carbon fibre, Alcantara® and the finest leather, the GT3-R is as breathtaking in its approach to interior design as to its dynamic ability.

The two-seat configuration includes a pair of new bespoke sporting seats with additional side support through deeper bolsters, including newly designed foam layers for comfort and finished in Beluga black leather with diamond-quilted Alcantara®. This exquisite material is also hand-trimmed to the steering wheel and gear shifter, while the centre console and fascia panels are handcrafted in carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is also used to create beautifully sculpted door casings that also include diamond-quilted Alcantara® inner panels. In place of the rear seats is a new uniquely trimmed rear cabin, complete with a carbon fibre surround and finished in leather and Alcantara®.

Contrasting the Beluga leather and motorsport-inspired materials is a vivid accent green, used as a hide colour on the seats, instrument panel and door panels and in contrast stitching throughout the seats and diamond-quilted areas. GT3-R badging adorns the centre console, passenger-side fascia panel and sill treadplates, while the seats receive GT3-R stitching to the headrests in contrast-green thread.

Dramatic and Purposeful Exterior Style Statements

For the exterior of the GT3-R, Bentley’s Design team was tasked with creating a more purposeful stance than ever before. A new front splitter provides an assertive look to the front of the car, balanced by a new fixed rear wing fitted to the boot lid – both finished in exquisite carbon fibre. The bonnet incorporates two vents to improve the cooling capacity of the powertrain system for repeated accelerations while also invoking the shape of the Continental GT3 racer in a styling element where form follows function.

The gloss carbon fibre contrasts with the Glacier White paint that all 300 cars will be finished in, and the inspiration of the Continental GT3 race car is highlighted by the use of two-tone green graphics that trace the two power lines to the side profile of the car – one leading backwards from the front wheel, the other tracing the shape of the Continental GT’s iconic rear haunch.

Further inspiration from the Continental GT3 is reflected in the finishing touches to the exterior – the headlamp bezels, radiator shell and matrix grille, window surrounds and bumper strips – all finished in stylish gloss black.

The visual appeal of the Continental GT3-R is completed by an all-new lightweight 21″ wheel, machine-forged from high-strength alloy and finished in gloss black.

Purchase of the car also includes free standard servicing for four years (at the 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 mile marks). Order books for the Continental GT3-R are open now, with deliveries to start late in 2014.

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Bentley reserves 99 Continental GT3-Rs for North America at $337k apiece

CONTINENTAL GT3-R MAKES NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT AT 2014 PEBBLE BEACH

- Limited edition Bentley Performance Model to be shown during Monterey Auto Week
- Complete Bentley product range on display at the Home of Bentley

(Pebble Beach, 11th August 2014) Making its North American debut at this year’s Pebble Beach is the new Continental GT3-R – the most dynamic and fastest-accelerating Bentley ever produced.

Inspired by Bentley’s race-winning Continental GT3 race car, the GT3-R is powered by Bentley’s race and road proven 4.0 litre V8 engine. Bentley engineers have developed a retuned version of the high performance 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 for this new two-seater GT. Developing 572 bhp and 516 lb-ft of torque, together with a 220 lb weight reduction and shorter gearing, the Continental GT3-R is the fastest-accelerating Bentley ever. Capable of reaching 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds, the GT3-R is a Grand Tourer with the performance of a racer.

Hand-built in Crewe, England, the car will be finished by Bentley’s motorsport department. The GT3-R is limited to just 300 examples globally, 99 of which are bound for the US market with four more destined for the Canadian market. Pricing for the racing inspired Continental GT3-R is set at $337,000 USD. Dealers are now accepting orders for the Continental GT3-R, with deliveries to start in the Americas Region in the first quarter of 2015.

Christophe Georges, President and CEO, Bentley Motors, Inc. comments: “Pebble Beach is the perfect location for the debut of the rarest and most dynamic Continental GT, the GT3-R. It is a testament to the Bentley trademarks of luxury and performance and we’re excited to share it with the friends of Bentley during this gathering of fine automobiles.”

Continental GT3-R Highlights

All 300 Continental GT3-R models take design inspiration from the GT3 racer and will feature a Glacier White exterior, highlighted by the use of two-tone green graphics that trace the two prominent power lines to the side profile of the car. A new front splitter provides an assertive look to the front of the car, balanced by a new fixed rear wing fitted to the boot lid – both finished in carbon fibre. Additional unique exterior features adding to the sporting design include gloss black headlamp bezels, matrix grille, window surrounds and bumper strips. The look is complemented by an all-new lightweight 21″ wheel finished in gloss black. The theme continues under the bonnet where the 4.0-litre V8 receives a unique GT3-R carbon fibre cover.

Interiors feature a two-seat configuration of new bespoke sporting seats designed for comfort and finished in Beluga black leather with diamond-quilted Alcantara®. In place of the rear seats is a new uniquely trimmed rear cabin, complete with a carbon fibre surround and finished in leather and Alcantara®. Contrasting the Beluga leather and motorsport-inspired materials is a vivid accent green, used as a hide colour on the seats, instrument panel and door panels and in contrast stitching throughout the seats and diamond quilted areas. Unique GT3-R badging adorns the center console and passenger fascia panel, while headrests receive stitched logos in contrast green thread. All 99 models bound for the US will receive sequentially numbered GT3-R sill treadplates identifying the car’s one-of-a-kind status.

Bentley at Monterey Auto Week

The inspiration behind the GT3-R – the Continental GT3 race car – will also be on display at a number of locations throughout California’s Monterey Peninsula.

The Home of Bentley at Pebble Beach provides the focal point for all Bentley guests during the week. It is home to the full range of Bentley models, The Bentley Luxury Collection and more. The winning GT3 race car will be on display from Thursday through Sunday at The Home.

On Friday, at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, the GT3-R will be on display alongside the GT3 race car and other new road going Bentley models including the flagship Mulsanne sedan and the new 2015 Continental GT Speed Convertible.

On Saturday, Dyson Racing Team Bentley will present the GT3 race car at The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion held at the Laguna Seca Raceway paddock. Currently competing in the North America Pirelli World Challenge series, the team has competed in a number of races in its first season and is currently preparing for the next race to be held at the Sonoma Grand Prix on Saturday, August 23.

Both cars will again be displayed on the Bentley Concept Lawn Sunday at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the conclusion of Monterey Auto Week.

Auctions of Vintage and Classic Cars

Pebble Beach is renowned for its auctions of collectible classic and vintage automobiles. In 2014, the following three classic Bentleys are being auctioned by RM Auctions between Friday August 15th and Saturday August 16th.

- 1931 Bentley 8-Litre Sports Coupe Cabriolet by Barker (presale estimate: $3.75 million – $4.75 million)
- 1937 Bentley 4 1/4 –Litre Open Two-Seater by Carlton (presale estimate: $1.4 million – $1.6 million)
- 1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner (presale estimate: $900,000 – $1.3 million)

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Bentley forging ahead with SUV development

bentley suv spy Bentley forging ahead with SUV development

Bentley has a whole mess of new models in the pipeline, including a completely new coupe, two-door and high-performance versions of the Mulsanne and an even more hard-core version of the Continental GT3-R. But the most vital product under development at Crewe is its upcoming new SUV, and that’s what our spy photographers have caught undergoing testing.

This prototype appears to be the same one we spotted a couple of months ago, although this time the NewBentley.com stickers appear to have been taped over (presumably to call less attention to itself) and the whole thing is riding lower to the ground to better test its brakes and cooling systems.

While the form clearly shares much with the EXP 9 F concept that previewed its development at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the design has clearly been worked over with a front end and tailgate that are easier on the eyes and more in keeping with the company’s styling language.

Riding on the same platform that will eventually underpin the next Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, the as-yet unnamed Bentley crossover is expected to arrive late next year as a 2016 model. Expect a range of engines including hybrids, V8s and W12s to drive the British automaker’s first production SUV up to 200 miles per hour in top spec.

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Bentley designer hints at even faster Continental GT3-R

bentley continental gt3r Bentley designer hints at even faster Continental GT3 R

Does Bentley have room in its Continental GT lineup for an even more extreme version than the new GT3-R? Luc Donckerwolke seems to think so. Speaking with Autocar, the Bentley design chief suggested that an even more performance-focused Continental GT could be in the works, potentially ditching the heavy all-wheel drive system in an effort to further reduce weight, improve handling and drop even more ticks off the 0-60 time that’s already down to a best-yet 3.6 seconds in the GT3-R.

To borrow a page from the same playbook used not only by sister-companies Audi and Porsche but also by Renault and Jaguar (to name just a few), we’ll tentatively call it the Continental GT3-RS. Whatever the name, though, power would likely come from an even more potent version of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 co-developed with sister-company Audi. Considering that engine already produces 500 horsepower in the Continental GT V8, 521 hp in the V8 S and 572 hp in the GT3-R, we could be looking at as much as 600 horses to make it the most powerful V8 model to date. With that much juice, it would even eclipse some of the W12 models that start at 567 hp in the core Continental GT and range up to the 616 hp in the Speed, which currently ranks not only as the most powerful Conti yet, but also the fastest road car Bentley has ever made.

Donckerwolke says that Bentley has already sold the entire production run for the Continental GT3-R and that customers are already clamoring for something more focused. Younger buyers are likely to be even further drawn to the brand by the ne-plus-ultra Conti, especially if the racing team advanced from its current fifth place in the Blancpain Endurance Series standings.

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Bentley putting Mulsanne-based Azure, Brooklands back on the table [w/poll]

bentley mulsanne vision Bentley putting Mulsanne based Azure, Brooklands back on the table [w/poll]

Big plans are afoot at Bentley. The quintessentially British automaker has just about signed off on the final version of its new SUV, and will surely roll out more versions of the Continental in the coming years, but that’s not all. It’s said to be considering a new sports coupe smaller than the Continental GT, but the latest reports coming in from the UK suggest that it also has plans for the Mulsanne’s platform.

Currently, the Mulsanne is only available in one configuration, but Bentley is widely expected to be bringing a new, more powerful Mulsanne Speed to the Paris Motor Show this fall with around 550 horsepower. That’s not all, however, as word comes in that the Flying B marque is planning to re-introduce both the Azure and the Brooklands as competitors to the Rolls-Royce Phantom DHC and Phantom Coupe, respectively.

For those who don’t remember, the Azure and Brooklands were a pair of two-doors based on the Arnage that preceded the Mulsanne at the top of Bentley’s range. The Azure was a convertible and the Brooklands a fixed-roof coupe, both of them larger than the Continental GT and powered by the company’s evergreen (yet decidedly un-green) 6.75-liter V8.

Both were phased out, however, along with the Arnage before the current Mulsanne was introduced in 2010. And ever since then, Bentley has been rumored to replace the duo with new versions based on the Mulsanne. But despite having shown the Mulsanne Vision convertible concept to a select group of customers at Pebble Beach a couple of years ago, the project was shelved.

So what’s changed, you ask? The guard, that’s what. When Bentley unveiled the Mulsanne Vision concept, Wolfgang Dürheimer was the CEO. Then he was relieved of his duties, and Wolfgang Schreiber, who replaced him, nixed the project’s development. Now that Dürheimer is back in charge at Crewe, it seems like the convertible is back on the table. “And if we do the Azure,” Dürheimer told Auto Express, “the Brooklands just comes automatically.” That is, of course, unless Bentley decides to do something out of the ordinary and make a four-door convertible “parade car” instead.

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Bentley plotting Mulsanne performance model for Paris debut

01 bentley mulsanne mulliner Bentley plotting Mulsanne performance model for Paris debut

Between three distinct body styles and numerous engine specifications, Bentley has made more versions of the Continental over the years than we would care to count. But one thing it has, by and (very) large left alone is the Mulsanne. Sure, it’s done some special editions and some extra equipment packages – it’s even toyed with the idea of a two-door convertible version – but at the end of the day, the Mulsanne soldiers on as a four-door sedan with one engine and one engine alone. That may be about to change, however.

Fueled by ambiguous pronouncements from Bentley’s returning chief Wolfgang Dürheimer, rumors from the UK suggest that the Flying B marque is preparing a more performance-focused version of the Mulsanne to debut at the Paris Motor Show this October.

Details are few and far between, but we’d expect the Mulsanne’s long-serving 6.75-liter V8 engine to be further tuned beyond its current specification of 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque, accompanied by a stiffer suspension, bigger brakes and other upgrades. Historically Bentley would turbocharge the Mulsanne’s predecessors (to turn the 90s-era Brooklands, for instance, into the Turbo R), but the Mulsanne’s engine is already spooled up, so the British automaker will likely have to massage the extra muscle out another way.

We wouldn’t count on it swapping the engine out entirely, though: though the most potent version of the company’s 6.0-liter W12 engine as found in the Continental GT Speed produces more power (at 626 hp) than the Mulsanne, at 605 lb-ft it’s significantly down on the big sedan’s trademark tidalwave of torque.

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Bentley SUV to cost over $220k, fix ‘problem’ of inexpensive competitors

bentleysuv s18 kgp 1 Bentley SUV to cost over $220k, fix problem of inexpensive competitors

There’s no shock in finding out that a new Bentley is going to be expensive; it kind of goes with the territory. However, company boss Wolfgang Dürheimer is indicating that its upcoming SUV could create a whole new rung of pricing for luxury utility vehicles.

While speaking with Autocar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Dürheimer let slip that the company’s forthcoming SUV would have a price of 130,000 pounds or more ($220,000 at current US exchange rates). Thankfully, the Bentley boss further clarified the reason for such a high cost of entry. He said that the elite players in the field like the Porsche Cayenne or Land Rover Range Rover have prices that hit the European equivalent of about $220,000 for top-trim, fully-optioned models. “We aim to solve this problem,” said Dürheimer to Autocar. While it’s exceedingly rare for converted foreign MSRPs to equal the actual expense in the US, it looks to be at the very top end of the class.

That is a stratospheric figure, but the Bentley SUV already has some big rumors to live up to. The company is reportedly aiming for a 200-mile-per-hour top speed and may possibly offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain, as well. It’s being pretty flagrant in evaluating the new vehicle too by plastering a promotional URL on its test mules (see above). They show the model with the brand’s trademark circular headlights up front, and interior photos indicate a digital instrument panel. If Dürheimer is serious about that price, the company better pack the car with every bell and whistle it can find to justify it.

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Bentley in no rush to retire Mulsanne’s 6.75-liter V8

v8 bentley mulsanne Bentley in no rush to retire Mulsannes 6.75 liter V8

Since taking over Bentley, the Volkswagen Group has done a lot to modernize the marque and its products. And no small part of that came down to the engines. Under VW stewardship, Bentley introduced its ubiquitous W12 that makes it the largest producer of twelve-cylinder engines in the world. It then rolled out a smaller V8 co-developed with Audi that offers nearly all the benefits of the larger twelve but with less weight and better fuel economy. There’s even been talk of hybrids and diesels. But one thing the Germans have avoided touching is the 6.75-liter V8 in the Mulsanne.

Based on architecture that dates back to 1959, the Bentley L Series engine is one of the oldest automobile engines still in production. But while the basic architecture may remain the same, the engine has, of course, gone through many updates over the past several decades. Introduced when Bentley was still under Rolls-Royce ownership, official output figures were not released, but suffice it to say you can rest assured that it has increased dramatically from the “perfectly adequate” ratings of the original to the effortless 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque it produces in the Mulsanne today.

And for the foreseeable future, according to Autovisie, the car section of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. Which may seem like a foregone conclusion, but does not represent the wisdom of a couple years ago. Speaking with an unnamed spokesperson for Bentley, Autovisie reports that the Flying B marque has no intention of retiring the big old V8 that’s still demanded by Mulsanne customers who are not interested in a newer or more technologically advanced engine brought in from Germany. The 6.75-liter V8 is a Bentley signature, after all – much as it was for Rolls-Royce before the two split and new parent BMW developed a V12 of the same capacity for the Phantom – and that’s not about to change any time soon, emissions legislation be damned.

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