Bentley

Bentley Continental GT (2003-2011)

When Bentley revealed the Continental GT in 2003, it marked the dawn of a new era for the Crewe marque under Volkswagen ownership. The model has gone on to become easily the most popular model ever offered by this luxury sporting brand, with a variety of offshoots also offered, including convertible and saloon editions. Anyone worried that VW Phaeton underpinnings might devalue the Bentley brand were quickly reassured by the car’s blend of agility, comfort, performance and reliability. And while you’ll need deep pockets to buy and run one of these stylish machines, the Bentley Continental GT still represents something of a bargain on the used market.

Key dates

6/03: The Continental GT debuts in 552bhp coupé form, as the world’s fastest four-seat coupé.

4/05: There’s now a four-door saloon, the Flying Spur, mechanically identical to the coupé.

10/06: The Continental GTC convertible goes on sale.

11/06: The Diamond Series celebrates 60 years of Crewe production and features ceramic brakes, unique wheels and fresh colour schemes.

8/07: 600bhp Speed versions of the Continental GT and GTC debut.

3/09: There’s now a Continental Flying Spur Speed.

10/09: The 621bhp Supersports appears, capable of 204mph and with carbon-ceramic brakes as standard.

Checklist

  • Despite their generous dimensions, the GT and GTC aren’t especially spacious inside, with rear seats suitable only for children.
  • Some cars are fitted with aftermarket wheels on ultra-low profile tyres, which damage the ride quality.
  • Some cars have tacky paint schemes; buy with caution as selling them on can be extremely difficult.
  • The heated rear window contains the radio aerial. These fail, with the whole window having to be replaced.
  • A warning that the engine is overheating when it isn’t is probably because of an imbalance between the two exhaust manifold temperatures.
  • The high-level brake light over the back window can fail, and repair costs can be high.
  • Tyres can be hard to find; standard GTs are fitted with 275/40 ZR 19 105Y (B) rubber. It’s essential that you fit tyres with the correct loading.

We like

  • Performance
  • Refinement
  • Build quality
  • Image
  • Comfort
  • Four-wheel drive

We don’t like

  • Cramped cabin
  • High running costs