Among the many things that I really like about our new project car, a 2016 Bentley Continental GT, such as the superbly comfy interior or the overtly punchy 6.0-litre turbocharged W12 engine, and this time around, it’s the Continental GT’s tyres. I spoke before of the importance of putting nice tyres on your car, as a good set of rubber could better optimise your car’s traction, handling, fuel economy, rolling resistance, tyre roar, road noise, safety, braking distances, and so much more.
So, it’s not a surprise that I’m pretty cautious and picky when it comes to what tyres go on my car. When it came to the Bentley Continental GT, it came with a really good set of tyres by default. Specifically, they’re a set of Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT. Crucially, you’ll also notice the ‘R01’ wording on the tyres, which denotes that these specific Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GTs are OEM-spec tyres, made and fine-tuned for the Bentley Continental GT.
This means that this tyre (not this particular one, of course, given that my Continental GT came out back in 2016), is likely the specific tyre that would’ve come installed from the factory, made and fine-tuned for it. A few other specs and details that we’ll need to be aware of; these tyres here are in sizes 275/35 ZR21 (103Y). Also, the date code that I found on those Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres says 17/22 (week 17, year 2022), so these are relatively fresh and new tyres.
Great Amount Of Traction & Grip Everywhere You Go
One of the first things that I noticed after driving around with these Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres on the Continental GT is its traction. I don’t really plan on pushing the Continental GT to its absolute limit, so for the most part, I’ll only analyse and judge the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT from the perspective of more regular driving and grand touring.
Being a pretty heavy car – fun fact: the Continental GT weighs more than 2.3 tonnes! – this hefty amount of mass does help with keeping those Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres planted and sticking onto the road, and offering maximal traction. On top of that, when you take into account that the Bentley Continental GT has all-wheel drive, it makes this even more effortless to launch it from a standstill. These tyres do a fairly good job of retaining grip, even when you’re really pushing it hard, either from a standing start or when you’re chucking it into the corners.
Overall, I’ve had no problems with getting the Continental GT to shift along with ease. Altogether, between these sporty, performance-spec Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres, and the amount of mechanical grip you get from the car, as well as the traction control system, electronic aids, and smooth-shifting 8-speed gearbox, in addition to that all-wheel drive set-up, this makes it an exceptional vehicle that affords no slip or looseness. These Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres, in particular, are a confidence-inspiring set of tyres, making sure that you have grip everywhere you go, and they work really well for the Continental GT.
Although, only time will tell just how durable it wears and tears. I can’t even imagine just how much stress the Bentley’s torquey W12 engine will put on the poor old tyres. I can at least take solace in that, between these tyres and how the suspension and steering have been tuned, I feel pretty connected to the road – it’s also handy that these are the OEM tyres that were made for the Continental GT. While I can’t say whether the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT could fare well on the track or for more exuberant driving, for regular day-to-day driving, commutes, or long road trips, I’m a happy camper so far.
Glides & Wafts Over Every Single Bump Or Pothole
It’s worth bearing in mind that the Continental GT is sitting on a massive set of 21-inch wheels. Additionally, it’s fitted with a highly complex air suspension system; which I’m grateful that I have a comprehensive, in-depth aftermarket used car warranty from Warrantywise, because I’m certain it’s going to cost me a huge fortune to fix it if and when it does break. For now, though, the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres can handle even the roughest, patchiest road surfaces without a fuss (though, it’s not entirely infallible, either).
While I’d like to think that a car like the Continental GT could readily glide over every single bump, pothole, and undulation on the road, but in reality, it’s much more nuanced. It’s still really comfortable, given how it wafts about with poise and grace, even when I take it on some of the more pothole-ridden B-roads around my local county. I can confidently say that when it comes to the Continental GT’s handling and ride quality (as well as the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres) is a marked improvement over most other cars that you can get for the money.
However, I could also feel some of the more pronounced imperfections on the surface of the road. This is in no small part thanks to the skinny tyres, gargantuan wheels, and the immense weight of the entire car. As such, the laws of physics can’t really help the fact that no matter what, you are going to notice some of the roughness on the road. Granted, it’s definitely dulled down to a point where you mostly don’t feel much if you tune yourself out, and the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GTs are doing what they can to make the best of it.
Fine-Tune & Optimise The Tyre Pressures With Ease
As for what tyre pressures I’m running, at the minute, it’s 34PSI at the back, and 40PSI at the front, which are the optimal pressures for the Continental GT in its comfort-focused set-up and configuration. Here, I’ll be discussing more about the Continental GT than the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT, since it’s a really handy party trick. One interesting feature of this Bentley Continental GT (I mentioned this in a separate write-up, when I talked about it’s interior), is that it has a tyre pressure monitoring system, allowing me to monitor the tyre pressures in real-time.
Of course, this isn’t unique to the Continental GT or any Bentley, as most cars have this feature, even back in 2016. However, where it is unique in the Continental GT is the ability for it to show you and display what the car believes the ideal tyre pressures should be, in any given situation. Or, depending on what you think you’d like to get out of it. For instance, do you want a more comfort-oriented ride quality, or if you’re trying to get more performance out of it?
All you need to do is press a button just underneath the infotainment system display, and you can fine-tune the tyre pressures accordingly. Bear in mind, that the Continental GT doesn’t have an onboard tyre inflator, and you do still have to manually change the tyre pressures yourself, so it’s probably a good idea to keep one in your car somewhere if you’re planning to do this. Once I’m in the tyre pressure set-up and information page in the infotainment system, it’ll then tell me what the ideal tyre pressures should be if you’re trying to tweak it for a more sporty drive and want maximum traction, or if I’d prefer a more comfy squishier ride.
The infotainment system in the Continental GT can subsequently tell me what the tyre pressures are at the moment, and what they should be at, so I could alter it accordingly based on the target tyre pressures, and I’ll then be able to monitor this when inside the car. It’s a really nice quality-of-life feature, even if it’s not a particular feature that I’m going to take advantage of beyond just a handful of times. Plus, it makes it so that I can get more out of these Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres while they’re still on there.