To celebrate 20 years of the Continental GT, Bentley Motors is hosting a four-month programme of unique models, drives and events that kicks-off today at the Shanghai Auto Show with the debut of a one-of-one Continental GT S. This unique car showcases several bespoke Mulliner features, including commemorative badging, inlays and design motifs marking 20 years of the car that has defined the modern era of Bentley Motors.
The exterior of the special GT S for Shanghai is the strikingly sinister Magnetic dark grey metallic, complemented by black chrome and black 22” 10-spoke sports wheels but with a splash of colour provided by red brake calipers. The black-and-red theme is carried into the interior, with duo-tone finish in Beluga and Hotspur leather with Piano Black.
A bespoke interior features a unique Mulliner colour way, dual-finish fascias and waistrails and bespoke detailing to centre console and treadplates.
The upper fascia veneer is in Granite Stone, giving a unique tactile finish, while the lower veneer is in Grand Black and features a laser-etched overlay celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the Continental GT. A red pinstripe separates the two finishes, stretching across the fascia from door to door and passing across the upper vanes of the bullseye air vents.
The treadplates proudly display two silhouettes, one of the 1st generation Continental GT and second of the 3rd generation, representing the 20 years of the modern GT. The same design can be found on the centre console, whilst the LED welcome lamp in the door has a unique design celebrating the anniversary of the iconic grand tourer.
Celebrating 20 years of the quintessential grand tourer
Launched in 2003 as the first all-new Bentley of the modern era, the first with all-wheel drive and the first to feature the innovative W12 engine, the Continental GT helped to propel Bentley to its current status as the most sought-after luxury car brand in the world.
At the time of its launch in 2003, the Continental GT offered a unique combination of stunning design, supercar performance and unrivalled craftsmanship. It was hailed as the fastest genuine four seat coupé in the world with a top speed in excess of 190 mph (300 km/h), and a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds). With no comparable rivals at its price point, the Continental GT swiftly became a global sensation, defining a new market sector.
Now in its third generation, the Continental GT and its stablemate the Continental GTC continue to garner awards and accolades. In 2022 the Continental GT Speed won the respected Robb Report Car of the Year award; remarkably, the Continental GT V8 S succeeds it as Car of the Year winner for 2023. The Continental GT also achieved back-to-back wins at the Auto Motor und Sport awards in February 2023, winning the luxury class import category for the second year in a row in a poll of more than 101,000 readers.
Continental Drive Hubs
Two drive hubs will celebrate 20 years of the Continental GT, one at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe and the other in Geneva, Switzerland. First- and second-generation Continental GT models from the Bentley Heritage Collection will be available to drive alongside the latest Continental GT family, vividly bringing to life 20 years of constant design and engineering evolution.
Around the world in 20 reviews
A Bentley ‘baton’, designed and created in house, will begin its global journey in May, travelling in a variety of Continental GT models across Europe, the Middle East, China, Asia Pacific and the US before returning to Crewe. At journey’s end back in Crewe, the baton, now containing 20 mementoes of the tour, will become a time capsule as a permanent reminder of a unique journey.
A Double Anniversary
The Continental GT’s birthday also marks 20 years of Bentley’s mighty 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine, that has physically and metaphorically powered Bentley to success over two decades. With the end of production of the engine now scheduled for April 2024, only 12 months of W12 assembly remains before this iconic powertrain makes way for Bentley’s electric future.
This milestone will be celebrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (13-16 July), where Bentley will be celebrating the W12 with a moving showcase of W12-powered cars from the last 20 years, up to and including the new Bentley Batur by Mulliner.
Homage to the Original at Monterey Car Week
The first Continental GT to leave the production line at Crewe in 2003, VIN number 20001, was finished in Cypress Green with an interior in Saddle hide and Burr Walnut. From that day to this, it has remained in the company’s possession as a significant milestone in the Heritage Collection’s garage.
At this year’s Monterey Car Week (August 11-18) Bentley will reveal a final one-of-one Continental GT – inspired by VIN 20001 – to close the birthday celebrations.