Bentley celebrates 20 years since continental launched in 2003 with a special Continental GT S displayed at the Shanghai motor show this week. In magnetic dark grey metallic paint with black chrome and 22-inch 10 spoke wheels, a colour pop comes from red brake calipers. The tread plates and centre console show silhouettes of the first and third generation Continental GTs.
The Continental GT was the first modern Bentley with all-wheel drive and the first featuring the W12 engine. At the time, it was the fastest genuine four seater coupe, topping out at 190mph and offering a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds. It’s now in its third generation, the last before Bentley explores a greener powertrain.
This year marks 20 years since the introduction of Bentley’s 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine. We’re now entering its final year of production, as it’s scheduled to end in April 2024 to make way for an electric powertrain. W12 celebrations will be held at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, July 13 to 16, with a number of W12 cars in a moving showcase including the new Bentley Batur.
Bentley is also planning a journey around the world with a Bentley ‘baton’ that will set off from Crewe in May. It will travel in Continental GTs across Europe, the Middle East, China, Asia Pacific and the US before returning to the UK. Along the way 20 mementoes will be collected to act as a time capsule of the 20th anniversary.
To round off the birthday celebrations Bentley will reveal a one-off Continental GT inspired by the first Continental GT to leave the production line at Crewe in 2003. The vehicle with VIN number 20001 has always remained with Bentley’s heritage collection and was finished in Cypress Green with a Saddle hide and Burr Walnut interior. The homage to the first Continental GT will be shown at Monterey Car Week from August 11 to 18.