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2022 bentley continental gt speed and bentayga 2

We Drove $2.3 Million Worth of Bentleys on a Race Track


An email comes through my inbox with a picture of a 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed racing around a racetrack, I chuckle to myself, I then read said email, I see that I will be given the chance to drive a host of Bentleys Australian fleet around The Bend racetrack in Adelaide, I smile, and I reply. Yes.

I’m going to assume that you’re an automotive connoisseur if you’re reading this one. A person with the utmost taste for expensive British metal, and someone who appreciates the proposition of driving some of the country’s most expensive luxury cars around a racetrack with the only limit being the nightmare of a $690,000 AUD Bentley acting as a cruise missile towards the wall of turn 1.

As such, I’ll be leaving out mentions of the interior in this one, no talking about stitching, leather, clock, sound system, or lighting. Instead, I’ll be focusing on all the catchphrases, try ‘dynamic’ ‘precise’ and ‘enthusiastic’ as an idea. Not something you might associate with a Bentley on the surface, but something that I feel needs to be talked about considering the task at hand. Without further ado, let’s check out the 2022 Bentley Speed range in both Bentayga and Continental GT.

Related: Bentley is Betting Big on Hybrids With Bentayga S and Azure Additions

2022 bentley continental gt speed front end

Image: 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed | Bentley

2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed

2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed Performance
Motor6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 TSI
InductionTwo parallel twin-scroll turbochargers, direct intercooling
Power659 PS/ 650 bhp/ 485kW @ 5000-6000 rpm
Torque900 NM/ 664 lb.ft @ 1500-5000 rpm
Top speed208 mph/ 335 km/h
Acceleration 0-100km/h3.6 seconds
TransmissionZF eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, active all-wheel drive w/ electronic limited-slip differential and torque vectoring

If the numbers don’t make it obvious enough, the 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed is a freaking missile. Top speeds down the front straight of The Bend were touching 260km/h, only limited by the steel brakes that were provided to us on the day (which I overheated rather quickly). The way the car gets up on its haunches is addictive but mediated by the drive modes that limit the air suspensions ‘waft’ when in sports mode.

The first lap on the track was spent in ‘Bentley’ mode, a middle ground between comfort and SPORT that defaults in all models. It’s a good balance for daily driving, however, was more a taster for what’s to come when the car gets locked in SPORT mode – a more suitable choice for the track.

In SPORT mode the 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed offers a more responsive powerband with the ZF eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox more eager to shift up later and down earlier under braking. I usually jump for the paddles in lesser cars, but the programming in the Conti’ was perfect and never left me overcompensating in either pedal to keep the car in gear. It did have its moments at the final turn where a slow approach is met by a fast exit onto the straight.

2022 bentley continental gt speed rear end

Image: 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed | Bentley

Grip levels from the car are immense, but that’s expected. What I was most surprised with was how characterful the car was in SPORT mode thanks to its eLSD that’s never afraid to play around if you plant your foot through the corner exit. In SPORT mode, the traction management system sends a greater proportion of power to the rear axle. You know the torque vectoring in the differential is working, but switching ESC off brings the car to life and insinuates a rear-bias driving experience.

It’s amazing to think just how far we’ve come with chassis technology that we now have vehicles that can artificially control every single aspect of the vehicle while still remaining fun to drive. The suspension on the 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed extends this feeling with three-chamber active air suspension with adaptive damping and Bentley Dynamic Ride – an impressive 48V active anti-roll control system that the brand pioneered on the Bentayga and this Continental GT.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty details, the system features powerful electric motors within each anti-roll bar to resist body roll. In their firmest setting, the motors can deliver 1300 Nm in our Continental GT Speed.

You’ll notice it working when the car loads up on turn-in, but most of the action happens through the back of the seat and really assists with keeping your buttocks planted in the seat.

Stopping the car was our only issue, a crazy thing to say when you’re working with ten-piston front callipers and four-piston rears, but necessary on a vehicle that has a gross weight of 2725 kg/ 6008 lb. If you were going to track your Bentley – which nobody will – you’ll need to option the carbon-ceramic brakes that were designed for this specific purpose and saves 33Kg of unsprung weight.

Main paint: Candy Red
Main hide: Hotspur
Secondary hide: Beluga
Veneer: High Gloss Carbon Fibre
Wheels: 22-inch Speed Wheel – Dark Tint
Recommended retail price: $551,600 AUD (excluding on-road costs, stamp duty).
Price as tested: $690,932 AUD (excluding on-road costs, stamp duty).

Check it out

2022 bentley bentayga speed

Image: 2022 Bentley Bentayga Speed | Bentley

2022 Bentley Bentayga Speed

2022 Bentley Bentayga Speed Performance
Motor6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 TSI
InductionTwo parallel twin-scroll turbochargers, direct intercooling
Power635 PS/ 626 bhp/ 467kW @ 5000-5750 rpm
Torque900 NM/ 664 lb.ft @ 1500-5000 rpm
Top speed190 mph/ 306 km/h
Acceleration 0-100km/h3.9 seconds
TransmissionZF eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, permanent all-wheel drive, Torsen centre differential, open rear differential with Electronic Diff Lock

While it’s not hard to see that a Bentley Coupe is fit for track duties, it’ll take some serious convincing that a Bentley SUV is fit for purpose. I’m here to make a case for the 2022 Bentley Bentayga Speed because I really enjoyed my time punishing this big barge through a few corners.

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re going to drop $514,400 AUD plus on-road costs on a Bentley Bentayga it better have the handmade twin-turbo W12 engine sitting in the engine bay. And while power is ever so slightly down on its coupe brother, the Bentayga Speed has many of the same hallmark features.

Of course, there’s the engine. A stonking great wallop that propels the 3250kg gross weight SUV to 100km/h in under 4-seconds. If the Continental GT Speed is a cruise missile, this thing is a nuke.

2022 bentley continental gt speed and bentayga

Image: Bentley

Most importantly it has the same 48V Bentley Dynamic Ride system that counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering to ensure stability is maximised and body roll is minimised. It works wonders and is the single most impressive thing we experienced on the day. The way you can huck the front end into corners is truly remarkable, not just for a 3-tonne SUV, but for any vehicle. If you want to scare some Porsches at your local track day while having a few laughs yourself, this is the vehicle for you.

Turn is in part thanks to Bentley Ride Control, but mostly the Torque Vectoring by Braking system that lightly brakes the inside rear wheel at corner entry to sharpen the front axle turn-in.

Richard Hammond once said that a true sports car is one that “shrinks around you” and the Bentayga is almost there in achieving that sensation, more than any SUV we’ve driven. If only those Mosmon mums knew what they were pedalling around in, we’d all get around a little faster.

Main paint: Beluga
Main hide: Newmarket Tan
Secondary hide: Beluga
Veneer: Carbon Fibre
Wheels: 22-inch Speed Wheel – Painted
Recommended retail price: $514,400 AUD (excluding on-road costs, stamp duty).
Price as tested: $514,400 AUD (excluding on-road costs, stamp duty).

Check it out

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