Although the official unveiling will be at the Paris Auto Show late this month, Bentley has released images and video of the newly freshened Continental GT Coupe. The automaker is wise to not make substantial changes to the Continental’s lines, since buyers expect understated elegance with their luxury and performance. I’d say that Bentley’s done a remarkable job of updating the coupe’s appearance without changing its identity. Aside from the revised headlights, the most noticeable change is the new car’s wider track, which gives the 2012 Continental GT a more muscular look than the car it replaces.
The 6.0 liter, twin-turbo W12 engine returns, but power is up to 567 horsepower and 516 lb ft of torque. That’s good enough to get the AWD Continental GT from zero to sixty in 4.4 seconds, on its way to a maximum velocity of just under 200 miles per hour. For 2012, the AWD system has been revised to minimize understeer, with the torque now split 40 / 60 front to rear by default.
Late in 2011, Bentley will introduce a new 4.0 liter V8 option for the Continental GT, with the intent being to increase fuel mileage and reduce emissions. Bentley isn’t saying much about the new motor yet, other than assuring customers it will deliver the performance they expect of the brand.
Expect the Continental GT to arrive on these shores next summer, with a starting price just north of $200k. That may seem lot a lot of money, but remember that you’re buying one of the finest coupes in the world. If you’ve got the money for the 2012 Bentley Continental GT, you certainly don’t need to justify your purchase to anyone else.