Bentley R Continental
Keywords: Bentley R Continental
Description: The wild 2015 Bentley Continental GT3-R is big and fast, edgy and opulent, and surprisingly capable - get the Motor Trend review and Bentley photos right here.
What do Porsche and Bentley engineers have in common? An almost preternatural talent for apparently proving Isaac Newton wrong, that’s what. With its engine hung out behind the rear axle, the iconic Porsche 911 should handle like a brick on a string. But it doesn’t. Similarly, the new Bentley Continental GT3-R, which has its engine hung out ahead of the front axle—and weighs a hefty 4,919 pounds into the bargain—should corner like a lead-tipped arrow. But it doesn’t.
Some numbers to conjure with: The Bentley GT3-R will hit 60 mph from rest in just 3.3 seconds. The standing quarter mile takes just 11.6 seconds at 119.8 mph. This luxury-badged, automatic-transmissioned, 2.5-ton leviathan will give a well-driven Corvette Z06 (0-60 in 3.3 seconds; quarter mile in 11.4 seconds at 124.4 mph) a serious fright, even though the Chevy weighs almost 1,400 pounds less and has 78 more horses. It’s built like an offensive lineman, this Bentley, but it runs like a wide receiver.
None. As with the Porsche 911, clever and highly focused engineering make the GT3-R seemingly defy the laws of physics. That impressive acceleration, for example, is the result of a shorter final drive ratio that limits the big Bentley to around 170 mph, and a turbo overboost function that boosts power 3.5 percent and torque by 6.75 percent for 15 seconds. The GT3-R’s surprising agility through the twisties is the result of a brake-activated torque-vectoring system that slows the inside rear wheel on corner entry, helping tuck the nose closer to the apex, combined with a torque curve that’s as flat as Kansas between 1,700 rpm and 5,000 rpm, and massive brakes and sticky tires.
Created to celebrate Bentley’s return to international sports car racing in the fast-growing GT3 category—just 300 will be built, and 99 have been earmarked for the U.S.—the GT3-R shares its color scheme and engine with the factory-developed race car. The twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 under the hood has been massaged to deliver 572 hp at 6,000 rpm and 518 lb-ft of torque at 1,700 rpm, 72 hp and 29 lb-ft more than the engine develops in the regular Continental GT V8, and the overboost function kicks outputs to 592 hp and 553 lb-ft. The engine drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s been reprogrammed to deliver faster, crisper shifts. Standard brakes are Bentley’s massive carbon-ceramic rotors, 16.5 inches up front and 14 inches at the rear.
The race car-style stripes and decals are optional, but even without them there’d be no mistaking the GT3-R is an edgier, more focused Continental coupe. The hood features a couple of giant openings to vent hot air, and you can’t miss the prominent front splitter, side skirts and rear wing, all beautifully fashioned out of carbon fiber. Inside, carbon fiber covers much of the interior, and there’s no rear seat. It’s hardly a race-face stripper, though—all the usual Bentley luxuries are present and correct, and the fit, finish, and materials are first class. The bright green leather accents on the doors, dash, and center console are over the top. Perfectly.
Photogallery Bentley R Continental:
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