The Bentley continental GT makes global debut at IAA 2017


bentley’s director of design, stefan sielaff, explains the influences behind the new ‘continental GT’. sielaff then introduces the journey that he and his design team in crewe, england, have taken to create the british-automaker’s latest automobile.

the spartan executive aircraft has a timeless design, using flowing curvature framed by sharp, powerful lines. bentley employed the same philosophy in the new ‘continental GT’, using superforming technology – a precision technique working with aluminum heated to 500°c – which allows designers to invoke more complex, sharply defined body lines and a deeper, sculpted haunch muscle. the ‘continental GT’ is the first production car to have an entire body side made from the superforming process.

all images © bentley

when a perfectly cut crystal glass is held up to the light, each facet is illuminated, highlighting a three-dimensional depth. this attention to detail inspired the design of the headlamps for the grand tourer, which catch the light like diamonds. the lighting uses the LED matrix technology, but it is the design that sets them apart. the result is similar to that of an illuminated gemstone – an effect which is magnified when the optional ‘welcome sequence’ gradually illuminates the headlights as you approach the car. the taillights also feature the cut-crystal effect, highlighting their three-dimensional quality.

the ‘continental GT’ features an enhanced version of bentley’s 6.0 liter, twin-turbocharged ‘W12 TSi’ engine which is paired with a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission. the sprint to 100 km/h takes 3.7 s (0-60 mph – 3.6 s), with top speed reached at 333 km/h (207 mph). the more sculptural and sharply defined muscular exterior design is complemented by a luxurious interior packed with details that showcases evolutions in bentley’s application of technology, including a fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel, and an innovative three-sided rotating display.

at first glance there appears to be no screen in the centre of the dashboard of the automobile. instead, the veneer flows uninterrupted across the dashboard, while a thin chrome bezel behind the steering wheel surrounds a digital instrument display. when the engine start button is pressed, the veneer in the middle of the dashboard glides silently forward and rotates to reveal a 12.3” touch screen. the third side on the rotating display reveals three elegant analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass and chronometer.