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It might not be the end of the line for Bentley’s W12s after all!

The Continental GT Speed features the W12 engine, but is it the last time we will be hearing this motor revving?

Bentley recently revealed a new top of the line, performance-focused version of its Continental GT grand tourer – the Continental GT Speed. It can do 0-100kph in 3.5sec and has a top speed of 335kph. Grand tourers don’t get any grander than this one, especially with this monstrous engine. With its 650 HP 6.0-liter-turbocharged W12 engine, the Continental GT Speed is the most powerful version of the Continental GT yet (and in all probability… the last).Bentley’s stakeholder VW is halting the production of the new combustion engines, as the British luxury carmaker is planning to go all-electric by 2030. Will it mark the end of an era for Bentley’s beloved W12 engine? We’ll have to wait and watch, but speaking with Motor Trend during the launch of Continental GT Speed, CEO Adrian Hallmark has given us hope to be optimistic about the W12’s future.“I wouldn’t call it the swan song just yet. There’s life in what is effectively a new engine,” Hallmark said when asked if the Continental GT Speed will be Bentley’s last model with a W12 engine under the hood. “This is the pinnacle of our brand-it’s been the foundation of the Continental GT. It’s the cleanest [W12] we’ve ever built and, with subsequent improvements, there will be more to do with twelve cylinders.”

It is yet to see how Hallmark and Bentley plan to keep the W12 engine revving with Bentley’s luxurious and silent future-electric plans. The possibility of developing a plug-in hybrid version of the W12 has been ruled out for now because of the extra weight of the grand tourer which would have adversely affected the performance and driving dynamics. But, it will need to be electrified in some form to make it more efficient and remain in production beyond 2026. (But yeah, it’s too early to make an opinion, so we’ll have to wait it out.)The new Continental GT Speed gets tweaked interiors and exteriors and comes with Bentley’s first electronic differential at the rear.

Bentley described it as the most dynamic road car in Bentley’s 101-year history. The retuned version of the 6.0-litre W12 engine gives a power output of 650hp and 900Nm of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The car gets a Sport mode with a heart-melting exhaust note.

Continental GT Speed gets 10-piston front calipers along with carbon-ceramic brakes as standard. It also sports an updated version of the larger Flying Spur’s all-wheel steering system. What this means, you ask? Well, at low to medium speeds, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts’ to reduce the turning circle, while at higher speeds, they match the front wheels to improve stability. The newly introduced electronic differential installed at the rear is said to improve longitudinal stability, lateral capacity and on-throttle adjustability, while not compromising on traction in adverse conditions.The luxury British car manufacturer claims the new Continental GT Speed gives a driver-focused experience when the electronic stability control system is deactivated. This will give drivers an option to choose to balance throttle and steering to deliver effortless, progressive yaw angles.

In its speed avatar, the new grand tourer can be marked out from the standard Continental GT from its unique side skirts, dark front grille and subtle chrome badging on the front wings. The manufacturer is also providing an option of jewel-encrusted fuel filler and oil filler caps.

The interior resembles the standard Continental GT but it now sports Alcantara and embroidered headrests with Speed badging on the dashboard and the seats.While Bentley offers its grand tourer, the Continental GT in India, it is yet to see if the new GT Speed will make it to the Indian shores.

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Himanshu Harsh

My love for automobiles is what fuels my writing. You can catch me twisting synth knobs when I'm not drooling over cars.

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