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Behold, The New Bentley Continental

The Bentley Continental GT has been around since 2003, more or less unchanged in its general form. Of course, it’s also been through too many engines and special editions to count, gaining and losing AWD, gaining and losing a V8 and W12, gaining and losing turbochargers. Bentley catered to virtually anyone’s drivetrain whim at some point. But they’ve finally caved and given the car a full update, changing pretty much everything except the number of doors and the number of wheels. It looks very, very nice.

On the outside, the car’s general countenance remains much the same, though any semblance of a rear deck has been erased to give it a completely pure coupe silhouette – a welcome improvement. The outer headlights are smaller than ever, and the front fascia is more pinched instead of the old car’s swooping waterfall, making it look more like an angry roadgoing train than ever before. The old taillights are gone, replaced by rather Germanic horizontal ones, and the overall look is more sculpted and taut. The greenhouse is rounder, the beltline lower, the chrome accents more pronounced.

On the inside is really where the party starts, most significantly with the trick dashboard. When the car is off it’s a simple piece of wood, but when the car is on it flips down to the nav screen, leaving it completely flush with the dashboard. But there’s actually a third side hiding in there – you can have three physical gauges displaying temperature, heading and time.

Other details include the steering wheel, where the Continental’s rather awkward-looking vertical tiller has been replaced by a much more attractive number plucked from the Bentayga and Mulsanne. The air vents can be had with “diamond knurling,” and the controls are inlaid with bronze accents. Bentley’s tradition of uncannily beautiful interiors hasn’t been lost here; Bentley has recently mastered the art of putting just enough glitz in exactly the right places so as to create a tasteful, restrained opulence. That’s not exactly something you can say about Rolls-Royce.

Hopefully it’ll be a little more reliable than the last one.

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