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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
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  • Bentley Continental GT

    £109,990 £109,990

    Used condition, Franchise approved,

    • Mileage: 7685 mi
    • Engine size: 3993
    For sale
    £109,990 £109,990
    Bentley Leeds
  • Bentley Continental GT

    £69,900 £69,900

    Variant name:Coupe Speed ,Derivative:Speed ,Variant: 6.0 W12 Speed 2dr Auto, 21inch Black Multi Spoke Alloys, Heated Cooled and Massage Seats with Memory, Soft Close Doors, Reversing Camera, Flawless Bentley Service History. Multi award-winning prestige car dealership John Holland is delighted to offer for sale this stunning Bentley Continental Gt 6.0 W12 Speed. Finished in Diamond Black metallic with Linen Diamond Quilted Main Hide and Beluga Secondary Hide, Embrioded Head Rests, Linen Leather Headlining and Piano Black Interior Inlays. This beautiful example comes with a fantastic specification to include, 21" Black Multi Spoke Alloy Wheels, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Reversing Camera, Soft Close Doors, Multi Function Leather Steering Wheel, Paddle Shift, Cruise Control, Electric Steering Column, Dual Climate Control, DAB Radio with ipod Connection, Heated Cooled and Massage Seats with Memory, Keyless Entry and Start, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Electric Folding Mirrors, Auto Lights, Xenon Headlights, LED Day Time Running Lights, Tracker System. Also benefiting from a full Bentley service history completed on 28/08/2014 at 2352miles, 12/08/2015 at 4393miles, 12/08/2016 at 11259miles, 05/06/2017 at 20866miles and 20/06/2018 at 27480miles. Supplied with 2 keys and al its original owners manuals wand wallet. John Holland has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars. We have a team of experienced buyers who hand pick our cars from all parts of the uk so you can buy with confidence all vehicles are HPI Clear and prepared to the highest standard, full dealer facilities available call the sales team for further information.

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 28136 mi
    • Engine size: 6
    For sale
    £69,900 £69,900
  • Bentley Continental GT

    £64,900 £64,900

    Variant name:Coupe Mulliner ,Derivative:Mulliner ,Variant: 6.0 W12 Mulliner Driving Spec, Stunning Low Mileage Example with Full Bentley Service History, Massage Seats, Heated and Cooled Seats, Reverse Camera, Garage Door Opener, TV Tuner and much more. Multi award-winning prestige car dealership John Holland is delighted to offer for sale this outstanding Bentley Continental GT 6.0 W12 Mulliner Driving Spec. Presented in Anthracite Metallic complimented with Fireglow Diamond Quilted Hide and finished with Burr Stained Walnut Interior Inlays. This stunning vehicle benefits from a great specification to include, 21" Split Rim Alloy Wheels, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Soft Close Doors, Cruise Control, Electric Heated and Cooled Front Seats with Driver and Passenger Memory, Massage Front Seats, Keyless, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Reverse Camera, Power Boot, Two Tone 3 Spoke Multi-Function Steering Wheel, Electric Folding Exterior Door Mirrors, Four Zone Climate Control, Xenon Headlights, Garage Door Remote, Deep Pile Overmats, TV tuner plus much more. This stunning example also benefits from the most incredible full Bentley main dealer service history completed on 31/10/2011 at 249miles, 08/10/2012 at 1474miles, 24/10/2013 at 2731miles, 23/02/2015 at 2970miles, 15/03/2016 at 5495miles, 28/03/2017 at 9370miles and finalliy 27/03/2018 at 14252miles. Supplied with two keys and all its original owners manuals and wallet. John Holland has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars.

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 15000 mi
    • Engine size: 6
    For sale
    £64,900 £64,900
  • Bentley Continental GT

    £62,958 £62,958

    Variant name:Coupe ,Variant: 4.0 V8 2dr Auto Here at Prestige we are happy to offer this beautiful 2012 Bentley Continental GT. Presented in Dark Blue Metallic with Cream Leather Interior. The specification on this Bentley is as followed, Automatic Xenon Projector Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, Quad Exhaust System, Fully Electronic Adjusting Seats with Massage Function, Memory Seats, Electronic Folding & Adjusting Mirrors, Heated & Cooled Front Seats, Cruise Control, Bluetooth Phone & Audio Streaming, Paddleshift, Satellite Navigation, FM Radio, CD Player, Trip Computer, Electronic Adjusting Steering Column, Electronic Parking Brake, Dual Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Keyless Push Button Start, Adjustable Air Suspension, Retractable Bootlid Spoiler, Full Colour Satellite Navigation, Gloss Wood Interior Trim, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Breitling Centre Clock, Reverse Parking Camera with Guide Lines. To discuss this exceptional Bentley in further detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 38400 mi
    • Engine size: 4
    For sale
    £62,958 £62,958
  • Bentley Continental GTC

    £48,500 £48,500

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Comms Pack, Full Leather, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Immobiliser, Central Locking, Soft Close Doors, Locking Wheel Nuts, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, ABS, Isofix, Air Bag, Front Fog Lamps, Auto-dip Rearview, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Handbrake, Electric Mirrors, Push Button Start, Multi-Disc CD Player, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Keyless Start, 20'' Alloys, 4x4, Full service history Major service just completed, New MOT, Silver Tempest with black leather and piano black wood, Massage Seats, 1 key. All usual dealer facilities, Finance arranged, 12 month warranty, Part Exchange welcome, Credit (fees apply) & Debit cards accepted. All cars are HPI checked and certified clear, viewing by appointment (as not all cars are stored on site), including evenings. Goto www.carstable.co.uk for more pictures.

    • Mileage: 22000 mi
    • Engine size: 5998
    For sale
    £48,500 £48,500
  • Bentley Continental

    £103,995 £103,995

    Variant name:GT Coupe ,Derivative:S ,Variant: GT Coupe 4.0 V8 S Auto 2015 '65' reg with 3025 miles Pearl White with Belugar Leather, Contrast Linen Stitching, Mulliner Driving Specification, Sports Exhaust, Contrast Stitch to Steering Wheel, V8 S Logo and Bentley Emblems to Head Rests, Acoustic Side Glazing, Acoustic Windscreen, Active Rear Spoiler, Dynamic Headlights, Black Package Exterior, Deep Pile Carpets, Diamond Quilted Leather Interior, 21" Diamond Cut 7 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Red Brake Calipers, Black Matrix Style Grilles, 14 Way Electric Memory Massage Heated and Cooled Seats, Piano Black Interior Veneers, Navigation with TV Tuner, Reversing Camera. Bentley Tracking System, Bluetooth Phone Prep, Keyless Entry. Bentley Warranty April 2019 Fantastic condition and Full Bentley Main Dealer Service History.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 3025 mi
    • Engine size: 4
    For sale
    £103,995 £103,995
  • Bentley Continental

    £74,975 £74,975

    Variant name:GT Coupe ,Derivative:Speed ,Variant: Continental GT 'SPEED' Navigation System with Google Maps and POI,Special Paint order, Portland Leather Accents, Bentley Emblems Stitched in Portland, Contrast Stitching Throughout, Hand Stitching to Steering Wheel in Contrast Colour, Speed Interior Colour Split, Speed Logo stitched to Headrests, Dark Chromed Lower Bumper Matrix Style Grille, Dark Tint Bi-Function Headlights, Jewel Fuel Filler Cap, Diamond Quilted Seats, Diamond Quilted Door and Rear Quarter Inserts, Drilled alloy Sports Foot Pedals, Knurled Sports Gearlever, Piano Black Interior Veneer, Bluetooth Telephone System, Cruise Control, DAB Radio, Power Boot Opening and Closing, Rear View Cameras, iPod Interface, Comfort Sports Equipment, 21" Speed Alloys Dark Tinted, Easy Exit Function, Space Saving Spare Wheel, UK Supplied, Exceptional Condition Throughout

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 18000 mi
    • Engine size: 6
    For sale
    £74,975 £74,975
  • BENTLEY CONTINENTAL 2004 Auto 80475 Petrol Silver GT

    £20,950 £20,950

    Were delighted to offer to the market a stunning example of one of these superb cars. This car inparticular has only come out of manufacturers warranty in the last year and has been extremely well looked after. It has also had a aftermarket reversing camera fitted. The car comes with a full and up to date service history and new Mot. PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO CALL IF THERE IS ANYTHING YOU MAY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS OR ANY OF OUR OTHER CARS. VIEWINGS CAR BE ARRANGE AT EITHER OF OUR SUSSEX OR SURREY BRANCHES. PART EXCHANGE WELCOME, FULL DEALER FACILITIES AND FINANCE AVAILABLE.

    • Mileage: 80475 mi
    • Engine size: 5.998
    For sale
    £20,950 £20,950
  • Bentley Continental GTC

    £51,995 £51,995

    4x4 Beluga Black with Black Roof, Interior: Magnolia Hide, 3 Spoke, Dual Tone, Hide Trimmed Steering Wheel with Black Switch Surround, Deep Pile Overmats to Front & Rear, Full NavTrak, Power Opening & Closing BootReversing Camera, Park Distance Front & Rear Mulliner driving, Specification, One Owner From New Beautiful Car inside out!!

    • Mileage: 22000 mi
    • Engine size: 5998
    For sale
    £51,995 £51,995
  • Bentley Continental GT

    £20,995 £20,995

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Full Leather, Memory Seats, Powered Folding Mirrors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Keyless Entry, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Sports Seats, UK Supplied, UK Specification, Multi-Disc CD Player, CD Player, Radio, Auto-dip Rearview, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Handbrake, Electric Mirrors, Self-levelling Suspension , Push Button Start, ABS, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Multiple Airbags, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Metallic Paintwork, 19'' Alloys, 4x4 A stunning Continental GT finished in unmarked Moonbeam Silver Metallic with Portland Stone Leather with Dark blue secondary hide. Genuine 78,500 miles with FULL Bentley History Main agent and Specialist from new, had 14 services.My own car for 4 years and about 20,000 miles. Recent Brakes and New Tyres. Ice Cold Air conditioning. Radio/ Multi CD with no blown speakers, everything works bar the tyre pressure monitor.Heated Massage seats.Extra walnut on door panels.A superb example not to be confused with the inferior models on offer and maintained regardless of expense. HPi clear. Extended warranty and delivery at extra cost.Private plate not included.

    • Mileage: 78500 mi
    • Engine size: 5998
    For sale
    £20,995 £20,995
  • Bentley Continental GT

    £41,900 £41,900

    Variant name:Coupe Speed ,Derivative:Speed ,Variant: 6.0 W12 Speed 2dr Stunning Example with Impeccable History, Specification includes Navigation, Bluetooth, Soft Close Doors, Garage Door Opener, Reverse Camera, Power Boot, Heated Seats, Folding Mirrors. Multi award-winning prestige car dealership John Holland is delighted to offer for sale this outstanding Bentley Continental GT 6.0 W12 Speed. Presented in one of the most sought after colour combinations of Granite Metallic finished complemented with Portland Diamond Quilted Main Hide, Burnt Oak Secondary Hide, and Carpets finished with Burr Walnut Veneer Interior Inlays. This stunning vehicle benefits from a great specification to include 20" Multi spoke Anthracite Grey Alloy Wheels, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Soft Close, Cruise Control, Electric Heated Front Seats with Driver and Passenger Memory, USB and Ipod Connection, 6 CD Changer, Garage Door Opener, Keyless, Front and Rear Parking Sensors with Reversing Camera, Power Boot, 3 Spoke Multi-Function with two tone Hide Trimmed Steering Wheel, Electric Folding Exterior Door Mirrors, Dual Zone Climate Control, Xenon Headlights, Plus Much More. The car also benefits from a full service history carried out by Bentley on 16/07/09 at 925miles, 21/05/10 at 5545miles, 24/05/11 10892miles, 24/05/12 at 18092miles, 20/05/13 at 27121miles, 16/05/14 at 35432miles, 02/06/15 at 39913miles, 24/05/16 at 41287miles then on 16/10/17 at 46048miles by Frank Dale and just serviced by ourselves on 26/06/2018 at 51300miles. Suppied with 2 keys and all it original owners manuals and wallet. John Holland has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars. We have a team of experienced buyers who hand pick our cars from all parts of the uk so you can buy with confidence all vehicles are HPI Clear and prepared to the highest standard, full dealer facilities available call the sales team for further information.

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 51308 mi
    • Engine size: 6
    For sale
    £41,900 £41,900