The Bentley Continental GT Project

When you’re taking stock of the British automotive hall of fame, it wouldn’t be complete without at least one Bentley somewhere in there. And, if I could only nominate a single Bentley, it’d be tough for me to not pick the Continental GT. It’s a sleek estate-on-wheels, with enough torque to rotate half the solar system.

Though new Continental GTs are quite expensive, as are all Bentleys, the infamous luxury-car depreciation means that older models are somewhat more attainable now. As such, it was all too enticing for me to not scoop one up while I had the chance, which is why I now own a pristine 2016 Bentley Continental GT.

Of course, I know that some of you might’ve picked up on the red flags right away. There’s a good reason why old luxury cars depreciate so fast… Because WHEN (not IF) something does go wrong, they’re ungodly expensive and convoluted to fix. But, is that necessarily the case? Well, that’s what I aim to find out.

This marks the start of our Bentley Continental GT project, where I very much want to get to the bottom of whether (or not!) you should really avoid buying cars like these. Moreover, if you do want to pick up an old Bentley or otherwise, what can you do to get that added peace of mind, and some of your sleep back.

Contents

Bentley Continental GT Specs, Details, Overview

Plus, given that so much, technology-wise, has changed in the past 6 or so years, what could I possibly do to help modernise this old Bentley and bring it up to date? But first, let’s take a closer look at what I’d just got myself into. As mentioned earlier, what you see here is a 2016 model year Bentley Continental GT.

I’ve actually driven a few of these Continental GTs throughout the years, including a 2014 Continental GT V8 Convertible, the 2015 Continental GT Speed, as well as the 2016 Continental GT Speed (which is pretty similar to what I eventually bought all these years later from the awesome folks at Auto100), as well as the all-new, next-gen Continental GT back in late 2020.

I do love this car and the unique DNA that Bentley’s injected into it. It’s a very paradoxical car, one where you’re tricked into just how comfortable, luxurious, and stately it is when you first step into one, soothed by all that leather and metal. Yet, when you floor it, it transforms into a whole other monster.

When I was shopping around for the perfect Continental GT, I knew it had to have Bentley’s legendary W12 powerplant. While their V8 engines are spectacular, there’s nothing quite like 6-litres of turbocharged, 12-cylinder muscle. It oozes personality and charm, with more than enough torque to have a bit of fun with.

Future Plans, Initial Upgrades, & Modifications

Here, at Motor Verso, we’ve had quite a few project cars pass through our garage in the past. I’ve worked on both the Mk6 and the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI, encompassing everything from minor interior mods to ECU tuning and suspension upgrades. The VW rabbit hole grew when I wanted to explore campervanning.

That urge was finally satisfied when I got my hands on a converted campervan, and went on quite a few memorable vanlife adventures with it. However, in the case of this Continental GT, it probably won’t be as extensive of a project build as that aforementioned Transporter, given that it’s a really nice car as-is.

Therefore, the end goal with it won’t be as ambitious, but there’ll definitely be some radical changes here and there, as well as some quality-of-life updates and improvements to be done to the Continental GT over time. So, most of what I’ll be doing is maintaining it and upkeeping, which is a notable highlight.

While that may sound like a boring subject matter, I’m actually pretty intrigued as to what it’s actually like to buy, service, and then own and live with a car like this. Again, there’s normally a ‘NO BUY’ sign attached to cars like these, as they’re known to cost a fortune to run, so I’m curious to see if that’s the case.

Aside from that, just like our other project cars here at Motor Verso, detailing these cars and giving them a good clean-up will be something that I’d also like to focus on. To achieve this, there’ll be plans to fully clean and detail the Continental GT inside and out, as well as add some top-tier ceramic coating on it.

Besides general upkeep, I’d further like to modernise this old Bentley with a few modern creature comforts that have since become ubiquitous now… But they might not have been when it was built back in 2016. By default, this 2016 model comes with a pretty basic and simple Audi/VW-based infotainment system.

This unit doesn’t really do much else besides working the satnav, radio, reversing camera, and a few other things. To fix this, I’m planning to find a way to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay running on it. I think I can update or retrofit the existing, infotainment system that’s already on there now.

Driving Impressions & In-Depth Review

We have put the Continental GT Speed to the test over our first few hundred miles living with this car. Find out more about how it drives, what our impressions are and if it might be the right car for you too. Read more…

Interior Deep Dive

The interior of the Bentley Continental GT Speed is a whole topic in itself, so we have spent some time putting together a comprehensive review of the interior, letting you know what works well, where it falls short and what to look out for when buying one of these cars yourself. Read more about the luxurious interior here.

Tyre Review – Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT

Finding the right tyres for your Bentley is a big deal, why spend all of that money for perfect comfort and extreme performance and then use a tyre that isn’t optimised correctly? We breakdown our thoughts on the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyre from our testing, helping you make a decision when you are looking for new tyres. Read more here.

Servicing & Maintenance

This is going to be a big one, as servicing and maintenance on a car with this degree of craftsmanship and handcrafted design, as well as its wonderfully (yet flawed) over-engineering. I’ll keep this section updated as time goes on, to see how it fares, but as of writing this section right now, not much is planned yet.

Since getting my hands on it in late 2023, the first major regular service planned would be sometime later in March 2024. Fingers crossed, assuming that nothing goes wrong and that no major components fail or break, I’m expecting this to cost around £800 for a regular service, check-up, and maintenance work.

One other maintenance-related task that I’m interested to monitor and keep track of is the battery. There’s not one, but two whole batteries inside the Continental GT, both found in the boot. There’s one battery for the engine, and the other to power all the electronics and myriad of accessories found throughout.

Seeing that the Continental GT is just one of the cars in the Motor Verso fleet, I likely won’t be able to drive it nearly as often. So, just in case, I’m keen to experiment more with trickle charging or battery maintenance for the long term, and apply all of what I’ve learned from using battery chargers in the past.

Extended Warranty Plan (Warrantywise)

Just to note, there are a lot of moving parts and components on the Continental GT. As they say, more stuff means more potential points of failure. My Bentley here has air suspension all around, a high-tech chassis and suspension set-up, as well as adaptive dampers. Then, there’s all the electronics buried underneath.

Peek far enough, and you’ll find an endless amount of wiring, computers, electrics, and control modules, just waiting to glitch out and go wonky at any time. Besides that, there’s that insanely over-built 6.0-litre turbocharged W12 engine, in addition to countless other things that could possibly go wrong in there.

The amount of tech is evident just by looking at the sheer number of buttons on the centre console… One for the heated and cooled seating, massage seats, lowering or raising the suspension, active suspension, Sport Mode for sharper throttle response and louder exhausts, and raising or lowering the rear spoiler.

These are some of the many reasons why it’s not a bad idea to be a tad over-paranoid and pre-emptively get yourself a good extended warranty plan with cars like this, such as Warrantywise. It gives you added peace of mind when things do go wrong, and at least it won’t (too) badly empty out your wallet.

Read our full guide on aftermarket warranties here.

Ownership & Running Costs

While an older Continental GT like this might be comparatively more affordable to buy now, here, today, it doesn’t mean that it’s cheap to own. I’m expecting the running costs to be, expectedly, expensive. I’ve seen the fuel economy figures, from my initial brief drives so far, to float anywhere in the 16mpg mark.

At today’s fuel prices, that ought to be about £90 to fill up at the pump. That’s further compounded by the massive yearly road tax, which for this car, is about £695. Then, there’s the insurance, which for me, would come out to be roughly £1,000 per year. On top of that, there’s the warranty that I mentioned earlier.

My Warrantywise extended warranty plan rounds off to around £174 per month. That’s a really good price for what they offer in return (we’ve linked to our comprehensive review of Warrantywise and what sort of coverage I got in the Extended Warranty Plan section, so check it out if you want to learn more).

It needn’t be said that a warranty of any sort is a must when you’re getting a car like this old Continental GT, as the risk of something going wrong is quite high. As I’ve highlighted already, the cost of getting any suitable spare parts and finding someone to undertake these mind-bending repairs will be rather high.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *