The Bentley factory in Crewe, UK, has celebrated the 80,000th example of the famed Continental GT leaving the assembly line.
The luxury manufacturer estimates 17 billion various configurations over three generations of Continental GT produced during the last 18 years ensures total individuality for a variety of owners.
During nearly 20 years of production, the Continental GT has also broken records and achieved much success on the world’s race tracks.
Bentley has produced the 80,000th individual, made-to-order example of the Continental GT. The 80,000th car – a right-hand drive Continental GT V8 in Orange Flame – was handcrafted at the Bentley factory in Crewe, UK; the world’s first carbon neutral factory for luxury car production.
In 1952, the Bentley R-Type Continental made its debut; a Mulliner-bodied coupe with a top speed of just less than 120mph. It was the fastest four-seater car in the world and very quickly earned a reputation as the ultimate in high-speed luxury.
In 2003, the Continental GT was launched – the first car of the modern Bentley era. Inspired by the R-Type, the first Continental GT established an entirely new market segment – the modern luxury Grand Tourer. Ever since, it has been the benchmark for the sector that it founded, with an average of nearly 5000 examples a year being delivered to customers around the world.
Today Bentley’s skilled craftspeople – many of whom will have worked on the very first example of the Continental GT (a car that is still owned by Bentley) – have handcrafted the 80,000th car. Over this period the style, technology and engineering beneath the car has evolved significantly, seeing an increase of up to 27% in peak power, while models within the range have also achieved a reduction over the original Continental GT of 48% in CO2 emissions.
The platform beneath the car was upgraded to a Bentley design for the third generation, allowing a totally new stance, proportions and levels of dynamic ability that raised the bar again. Wrapped in a totally new bodywork design, with sharper lines and more flowing surfaces, the Continental GT remains a stylish and thoroughly contemporary grand tourer.
A statement of true luxury, the third generation Continental GT represents the pinnacle of Bentley’s two-door design and engineering achievements. Effortlessly elegant and more sculpted and sharply defined, the body and materials combine to create truly breath-taking cars.
With a choice of powertrains, one of the most extensive colour palettes in the world and with almost limitless interior options, unique configurations can run into billions of variations. Bentley estimates there are currently a total of 17 billion ways in which a customer can specify a Continental GT.
Beyond that, through the services of Bentley Mulliner – Bentley’s in-house bespoke division – the only limitation is the imagination of the customer. Owning a Continental GT guarantees both individuality and exclusivity, despite being part of a family now 80,000 strong.
The Continental GT has also supported Bentley’s long tradition of racing and record breaking that started in the 1920s when the Bentley Boys set the pace at European circuits.
In 1922, John Duff drove his Bentley 3-Litre single handed for 24 hours, at an average speed of almost 87 mph at Brooklands to secure 39 Class D records. And in 1928, another 3-Litre driven by Dudley Froy became the first car to achieve more than 115 mph over a distance of 100 miles at the same venue.
“At its launch in 2003, Bentley redefined the modern grand tourer with the revolutionary Continental GT,” said Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors.
“Now in 2021, the GT continues to be the ultimate luxury grand tourer, encompassing the latest technology, performance and style. This success is a testament to the skills of our designers, engineers and craftspeople here in Crewe.
“I had the pleasure of launching the original GT in 2003 in my first stint at Bentley and being here for the launch of the latest generation – and the iterations that have followed – has been a source of great pride for me personally.
“It will continue to be the iconic backbone of the Bentley business for years to come, even as we transition to the world’s leading provider of sustainable luxury mobility.”