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The most advanced Bentley chassis yet

ByDave Stopher

May 24, 2021
  • Continental GT Speed Coupe and Convertible showcases an unrivalled combination of dynamic performance and luxurious ride comfort
  • Highly advanced chassis includes four new technologies
  • New 440mm diameter brakes are the largest on any car in the world
  • Exceptional fade resistance, increasing only by 1.1 metres, to just 61.1 metres after ten consecutive stops from 80 mph
  • Selectable electronic stability control enabling driver freedom
  • All-wheel steering and electronic rear differential enhance vehicle agility and stability
  • 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds); top speed 208 mph (335 km/h)

(Crewe, 5 May 2021) The new Continental GT Speed Coupe and Convertible represents the very pinnacle of performance grand touring, and defines the most dynamic road-going Bentley ever made, with no compromise to comfort or luxury. A combination of four chassis technologies give the Continental GT Speed a level of agility, performance and ride quality that has been stretched to new levels.

Bentley Dynamic Ride and three-chamber active air suspension with adaptive damping play a key role in the balance of the car and provide a formidable foundation to build upon.  The optional and newly-developed Carbon Ceramic Brakes, Variable Electronic Stability Control, All Wheel Steering, and an Electronic Limited Slip Differential bolster the agility and performance even further.

Combining the new systems the Continental GT Speed still maintains Bentley’s philosophy that a vehicle should feel progressive and secure, yet still be dynamic.

To achieve this philosophy in BENTLEY and COMFORT mode, overall grip is balanced between the front and rear wheels, while in SPORT this mode has been calibrated with a more rear-biased torque–split in all driving scenarios.

The Largest Car Brakes in the World
The new carbon ceramic braking system boasts 440mm diameter front discs combined with new ten-piston front calipers, making this not only the biggest brake ever fitted to a Bentley but also the largest car brake in the world. This latest generation of carbon-ceramic disc has been specially formulated to provide class-leading braking performance with copper-free brake friction material for reduced environmental impact.

The new ceramic brake system offers weight saving of 33 kg compared to the iron braking system, and most importantly this is un-sprung weight which lowers inertia and gives the vehicle more responsive handling.  

The ceramic brake has been extensively tested around the world including at the Nurburgring Nordschleife where it set levels of braking performance never before achieved by a Bentley. In objective tests the ceramic brake has proven itself to be exceptionally fade resistant – after ten consecutive from 80 mph, the stopping distance only increased by 1.1 metres, to just 61.1 metres.

Variable Electronic Stability Control
The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system allows the driver to experience an even greater level of freedom before the GT Speed’s safety systems intervene to correct any anomalies. With the ESC system engaged, the car provides reassuring stability over uneven surfaces, abnormal cambers or in inclement weather conditions. When switched to Dynamic mode, the ESC system extends the freedom of the driver, allowing the experienced pilot to set and alter the cornering stance of the car at their discretion.

With the ESC switched off, the mechanical grip and inherent balance of the GT Speed comes to the fore, allowing a driver-focused experience previously only seen in Bentley’s racing machines. After utilising strong turn-in performance thanks to the All-Wheel Steering and eLSD, on track the driver can choose to balance throttle and steering to deliver effortless, progressive yaw angles.

All-Wheel Steering
New Electronic All-Wheel Steering enhances the dynamic nature of the Speed in each of the driving modes. This is even more apparent in SPORT mode, as the steering combines with Bentley Dynamic Ride and the electronic limited slip differential for a level of agility unlike any other Bentley road car, utilising up to 4° of steering lock on the rear wheels.

At low and medium speeds, the GT Speed’s rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction to the front wheels to aid a rapid change of direction, noticeably increasing the feeling of nimbleness. The steering feels sharper and with a quicker ratio, and a commensurate increase in steering feel provides even more driver confidence. At high speeds, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front, to improve stability. The system is significantly more active on the GT Speed than it is on the Flying Spur, where its primary purpose is a reduction in turning circle and enhanced high-speed stability.                

Electronic Limited Slip Differential
For the first time in a Bentley, the latest generation of the Continental GT Speed introduces the use of an electronic limited slip differential (eLSD).

Specifically tuned hand-in-hand with the traction control and active chassis systems, the eLSD provides increased lateral capacity, improved longitudinal stability, enhanced on-throttle adjustability and delivers better traction in adverse road conditions.

In all modes this provides improved traction, provides a greater level of confidence for the driver and makes the vehicle feel more stable at high speeds. In SPORT mode, the eLSD has been tuned to balance on- and off-throttle adjustability, improved turn-in response and increased straight-line performance. The combined benefit means the Continental GT Speed is now more adjustable and more driver-focused than ever before without compromising comfort or stability.        

Improved cornering dynamics and the extra grip provided by the new systems allows the driver to exit any corner with an increased level of precision and confidence. In turn, the vehicle is able to extract the maximum performance from the available traction to deliver stunning acceleration and composure from the apex.

Torque distribution can vary across the powertrain according to the selected Drive Mode. In COMFORT and BENTLEY, the system can send up to 36% of torque to the front axle to keep the car sure-footed and effortless. It will also counter oversteer by applying up to 400 Nm to the front wheels.

In SPORT mode, the system limits the available torque to the front axles to 28%, to maintain a higher torque level at the rear axle and allow for a more dynamic feel. The system also responds very differently to oversteer, only sending approximately a 1/10th of the torque to counter as Bentley Mode, providing an increased performance feel.