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Bentley Continental GT: Buying guide and review (2003-2011)

Bentley Continental GT: Buying guide and review (2003-2011) Classic and Performance Car
Bentley Continental GT Bentley Continental GT Bentley Continental GT Bentley Continental GT Bentley Continental GT
When Bentley revealed the Continental GT in 2003, it marked the dawn of a new era for the Crewe marque under Volkswagen ownership. At first there were many who feared for the Bentley marque, assuming that the VW Phaeton underpinnings of this new British supercar would never be up to the job. But the critics were soon silenced and the Continental GT 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. 
 
Far from those Phaeton underpinnings devaluing the Bentley brand, this is a car that has a superb blend of agility, comfort, performance and reliability – a blend that would never have been in reach without the clout of the mighty Volkswagen Group. The Phaeton’s platform also brings standard four-wheel drive across the range, so unlike some rivals, you can get the power down whatever the conditions – and you shouldn’t overlook the value of that added security.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Don’t automatically go for a really low-mileage car, as regular use is essential to keep things working properly. If you do go for a low-mileage example, make sure that the history backs up the mileage; these cars can be clocked. When you’re checking the history, see who has done the work; as specialist vehicles, the Continental must be maintained by experts. It’s worth going for a post-2006 model, as these feature some useful developments over earlier editions; Bentley tended to make changes each year, but didn’t always publicise them.
 
If the Continental sounds like your thing, there are few choices to make as all cars have an automatic gearbox and the same engine is used throughout. However, this magnificent W12 unit came in different states of tune and there are three body styles available; the GT is a coupé, the GTC is a convertible and the Flying Spur is a saloon. While the GTC is more costly than the coupé, it’s every bit as refined so you get the best of all worlds. However, despite their generous dimensions, the GT and GTC aren’t especially spacious inside, with rear seats suitable only for children. If you’re buying to transport more than two people regularly, focus on the Flying Spur saloon. This isn’t as stylish as its two-door counterparts and it’s more costly than the GT, but it’s significantly cheaper than a convertible while offering just as much performance and luxury, but with added practicality.
 
If you’re happy with an entry-level car – that’s the one with a mere 552bhp – you might as well buy an older example and stick a private plate on it. It’ll look just the same as a later edition, which is what you’ll have to settle for if you want a Speed or Supersports, as they didn’t arrive until 2007 and 2008 respectively. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Bentley Continental GT
Engine 5998cc, 12-cylinder
Power 552bhp @ 6100rpm
Torque 479lb ft @ 1600rpm
Top speed 190mph
0-60mph 4.7sec
Fuel consumption 16mpg
Gearbox Six-speed auto
Insurance group 20
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2745mm
Length 4804mm
Width 1918mm
Height 1390mm
Kerb weight 2350kg
 
Common problems
 
• Any car with corrosion or less than perfect panel gaps has been crunched, so just walk away. There are plenty of really superb cars available so there’s no point settling for anything less.

• The W12 that powers all of these cars is extremely tough, but maintenance can be costly because access is poor. There are no cam belts to replace but even renewing the spark plugs means a certain amount of dismantling is required. 

• Radiators fail and replacing them means removing the front bumper. A warning that the engine is overheating when it isn’t is probably because of an imbalance between the two exhaust manifold temperatures.

• Dampers aren’t prone to failure, but on hard-driven high-mileage cars they may be worn; as you’d expect, replacements are costly.

• Brake discs are a weak point, and hard-driven cars can get through them alarmingly quickly. Expect to pay plenty for a new pair, or you could upgrade to a ceramic system if you’ve got seriously deep pockets.

• Some cars are fitted with aftermarket wheels on ultra-low profile tyres, which tend to damage the ride quality. The standard alloys get kerbed and they corrode too, with refurbishment generally very costly.

• 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.

• The drains at the base of the windscreen (under the bonnet) get blocked up, leading to water in the fuel and air-con system. If left, it can short out the central locking too.

• The heated rear window contains the radio aerial. These have a tendency to fail, with the whole window having to be replaced.

• The high-level brake light over the back window can also fail, and dealers routinely ask for a lot of money to fix it – so check it works properly.

• If you need to stay in touch on the move, buy a post-2006 car as Bluetooth wasn’t available until this point.
 
Model history
 
2003: The Continental GT makes its debut, in 552bhp coupé form only, as the world’s fastest four-seat coupé. 
2005: There’s now also a four-door saloon, called the Flying Spur which is mechanically identical to the coupé.
2006: The most glamorous derivative of all is now here; the GTC convertible. 
2007: 600bhp Speed versions of the GT and GTC are introduced,
2008: A Supersports version of the GT and GTC is introduced, with 621bhp and carbon-ceramic brakes as standard.
2009: The Flying Spur Speed is introduced.
2010: A heavily facelifted Continental GT goes on sale; it’s effectively a second-generation car.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.bdcl.org
• bentleyownersclub.co.uk
• bentleyenthusiastsclub.com
 
Summary and prices
 
Prices for well-used early examples start from around £25,000 today. Although there is always more risk involved in buying from this end of the market, there are good cars out there, so buy on condition. £30,000-£35,000 is a much better starting point though, and there is a much greater selection of cars available from this price point, including post-2006 models. The GT Speed models start from around £50,000, with Supersports variants coming in at about £65,000. 
 
Words: Richard Dredge
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Last updated: 12th Jan 2016
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Bentley Continental
24999 159000 GBP
  • Bentley Continental GT

    £114,990 £114,990

    Used condition, Franchise approved, Low Mileage

    • Mileage: 2668 mi
    • Engine size: 5998
    For sale
    £114,990 £114,990
    Bentley Leeds
  • 2009 Bentley CONTINENTAL GTC

    POA POA

    Convenience Spec Inc Diamond Quilted Leather, Sat Nav, Rear View Camera, Bluetooth, Voice Control, Keyless Entry, Push Button Start, Climate Control, Cruise Control, Electric Heated Memory Comfort Massage Seats, Contrast Stitching, Multi CD, IPod Interface, Xenon Headlamps, Park Distance Control, Power Hood, Power Boot, Soft Close Doors, Wind Deflector, Dark Chrome Lower Matrix Grille, Secrecy Glass, Folding Mirrors, Drilled Alloy Sports Pedals, Adjustable Suspension, Tyre Pressure Monitor, 3 Spoke Multi Function Steering Wheel, Extended Piano Black Wood and 20" Dark Tint Speed Alloys. Full Bentley Service History. Due In Soon. www.imperials.co.uk ------ Please call us to Confirm which of our 3 Essex Showrooms your desired vehicle is located at before travelling to see us, Everyone of Our Cars Goes Through Our In House Work Shop Prior to Sale by Our Fully Qualified and Experienced Technicians - Buy with Confidence, Mileage Subject to Change as Stock Rotates Between Showrooms Confirm Mileage at Time of Purchase. For up to 20 images of this vehicle and an Instant Finance Quote please view www.imperials.co.uk, For Out of Office Hours Enquiries please call Jim 07811 208138 and he will

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 20000 mi
    For sale
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  • Bentley CONTINENTAL GTC

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    Mulliner Drivers Spec Inc Diamond Stitched Leather, Contrast Stitching, Drilled Alloy Sports Pedals, Sports G/Lever, Sat Nav, Rear View Camera, Bluetooth, Voice Control, Keyless Entry, Push Button Start, Climate Control, Cruise Control, Electric Heated Memory Ventilated Massage Seats with Neck Warmer and Lumbar, IPod Interface, Bi-Xenon Headlamps, Centre Console Storage Case, Power Hood, Power Boot, Soft Close Doors, De-Chromed Styling Black Stealth Pack, Adjustable Suspension, Wind Deflector, Duo Tone 3 Spoke Multi Function Steering Wheel inc Gear Shift Paddles, Piano Black Wood, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Folding Mirrors and 21" Black Machined 6 Twin Spoke Alloys. Full Bentley Service history inc Recent 5th Year Service. Viewing by Appointment. www.imperials.co.uk ------ Please call us to Confirm which of our 3 Essex Showrooms your desired vehicle is located at before travelling to see us, Everyone of Our Cars Goes Through Our In House Work Shop Prior to Sale by Our Fully Qualified and Experienced Technicians - Buy with Confidence, Mileage Subject to Change as Stock Rotates Between Showrooms Confirm Mileage at Time of Purchase. For up to 20 images of this vehicle and an Instant Finan

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley CONTINENTAL GT

    £62,989 £62,989

    One Owner. Mulliner Drivers Spec Inc Diamond Quilted Leather, Contrast Stitching, Drilled Alloy Sports Pedals, Knurled Sports G/Lever, Jewel Fuel Filler Cap, Sat Nav, TV, Rear View Camera, Bluetooth, Voice Control, Keyless Entry, Push Button Start, Climate Control, Cruise Control, Electric Heated Memory Seats with Emblem Stitching, Multi CD, IPod Interface, Bi-Xenon Headlamps, Park Distance Control, Power Boot, Soft Close Doors, Bright Chromed Lower Matrix Grilles, Folding Mirrors, Duo Tone 3 Spoke Multi Function Steering Wheel, Veneered Storage Case, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Extended Piano Black Wood, Red Calipers and 21" Alloys. Full Bentley Service History. www.imperials.co.uk ------ Please call us to Confirm which of our 3 Essex Showrooms your desired vehicle is located at before travelling to see us, Everyone of Our Cars Goes Through Our In House Work Shop Prior to Sale by Our Fully Qualified and Experienced Technicians - Buy with Confidence, Mileage Subject to Change as Stock Rotates Between Showrooms Confirm Mileage at Time of Purchase. For up to 20 images of this vehicle and an Instant Finance Quote please view www.imperials.co.uk, For Out of Office Hours Enquiries please cal

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 40000 mi
    For sale
    £62,989 £62,989
  • 1990 Bentley Continental Convertible

    $67,500(£0) $67,500(£0)

    1990 Bentley Continental Convertible The 1990 Bentley Continental Convertible featured here with 69,254 miles on the odometer is offered for sale in a warm Magnolia exterior over matching interior equipped with a strong naturally-aspirated motor and automatic transmission. It is equipped with air conditioning, wood trim, power windows, power seats and includes the boot, jack, spare tire, and tools. The Bentley is definitely the epitome of elegance and style preserved as well as being mechanically sound. For $67,500 If you have any additional questions Please call 310-975-0272 or email with any questions! We also welcome all international buyers. We can help with shipping quotes and arrangements.

    • Year: 1990
    • Mileage: 69254 mi
    For sale
    $67,500(£0) $67,500(£0)
  • Bentley Continental

    £49,989 £49,989

    Variant name:GT ,Derivative:MK1 FL (3W) ,Variant: GT 6.0 W12 Cpe Magnolia Hide with Nautic Blue Secondary, 19 Inch 2 Piece Mulliner Alloys, SatNav, Magnolia Headlining, Bright Chrome Matrix Grill, Puddle Illumination, Double Glazed Glass, Twin Oval Exhaust Finishers, Ski Hatch, Elec Pack With Memory, Keyless Entry, 10 Speaker Digital Sound Package, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Heated Lumbar Seats, Headlamp Wash System, Power Boot Opening & Closing, Soft Close Doors, Voice, TPMS, PFM, Rain Sensor, 2008MY. Full Bentley Main Dealer Service History. Please Ask For A Finance Quotation.

    • Year: 2008
    • Mileage: 20000 mi
    • Engine size: 6
    For sale
    £49,989 £49,989
  • 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Flying Spur MULLINER

    POA POA

    REGISTRATION DATE 17/11/2006, 56 REG, F/Service History, 2 Keys, Full Black Diamond Stitched Interior, Piano Black Inlays, Soft Closing Doors, FxR heated seats, SAT NAV, Auto Boot, Rear Electric blind, Rear Climate Control, Self-Levelling Suspension, Speakers, Steering Wheel Mounted Controls, Telephone Equipment, Upholstery Leather. 5 seats, Bentley Continental Flying Spur Features Air Conditioning Climate Control Colour SatNav Full Leather Memory Seats Rain-Sensing Wipers Satellite Navigation Xenon Headlamps Adjustable Steering Column Cruise Control Parking Sensors Power Steering Stability Control Traction Control Auto-dip Rearview Electric Handbrake Air Bag ABS Alarm Remote Alarm Remote Central Locking Privacy Glass Electric Seats Front Centre Armrest Head Restraints Heated Seats Lumbar Adjustment Height Adjustable Seat Rear Armrest Front Fog Lamps Electric Sunroof UK Specification UK Supplied Front and Rear Heated Seats

    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Continental GT

    £86,995 £86,995

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Comms Pack, Dual Climate Zones, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Memory Seats, Satellite Navigation, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Immobiliser, Keyless Entry, Locking Wheel Nuts, Privacy Glass, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Tracker Fitted, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Retractable Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Camera, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Brake Assist, Quick-Clear Screen, Multiple Airbags, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Spoiler, Auto-dip Rearview, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Handbrake, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Self-levelling Suspension , Push Button Start, CD Player, MP3 Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Stereo, HEATED REAR VIEW SCREEN, UK Specificati absolutely stunning Bentley continental with massaging seats so much with this mulliner pack just call us for details we are finance specialists and have access to many lenders for all types of credit rating just call us on 01268 281941 for details www.comptonscarsandcommercials.co.uk for a huge choice of vehicles available on site today over 125 here now

    • Mileage: 21000 mi
    • Engine size: 3993
    For sale
    £86,995 £86,995
  • Bentley Continental GT

    POA POA

    Our gorgeous golden Bentley GT is believed to be the only one of its kind supplied new in this unique colorway. Specified and owned by one gentleman owner from new and supported by the most comprehensive Bentley main dealer history with every annual service stamped. The condition both inside and out totally reflects the care and attention this car has been given. With just 24,000 miles recorded in 11 years, this car must surely be a modern classic. Invest in gold today you know it makes sense Cognac Primary Hide Beluga Secondary Hide Walnut Veneers Electric Memory Heated Massaging Seats Multi Function Steering Wheel Cruise Control Sat Navigation Radio CD Multiplay Welcome Home Pack Front & Rear Parking Distance Control 19″ Alloy Wheels Full Bentley Service History 1 Owner from New

    • Year: 2005
    • Mileage: 24000 mi
    For sale
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