Bentley Continental GT Research

bentley continental gt

So we’ve established that a Bentley Continental GT is a) very nice and b) almost affordable. Nothing much has been known to go wrong with them on a habitual basis, mechanically at least. The biggest issue for any prospective owner is really whether you can afford to maintain it.

A minor service can set you back around $1200-1500. A major service is around $3000. So these things, for us mortals, must be budgeted for. Any problems with the engine, or associated with it, may need the engine out to work on it, due to the severe lack of room in the engine bay.

The biggest issue for the early cars at least was electrical and particularly sensor related. Sounds trivial right? Well consider this, each tyre has a pressure sensor and each needs replacing every 5 years at around $350-400 a piece, $1400-1600 in total.

Spark plugs need replacing every 4 years, which means the engine needs to come out. This is best done during the major service so again this takes time and will not be cheap.

Many buyers look into extended warranties. If you are buying from a dealer or a specialist, which is probably advisable, look into either a 1, 2 or 3 year warranty. The costs  are high, but could save your bacon should anything truly momentous happen. You are looking at something like $4-5000 for 1 year, $7-8000 for 2 years and over $10,000 for 3 years.

As with the Land Rover Discovery, the Conti GT’s air suspension has been known to play up. It has been suggested to keep the car at its lowest setting when at rest, or parked for a few days. When parked up, play around with the suspension settings to keep moving parts and rubber seals in fine fettle and listen for any obvious leaks.

bentley continental gt

 

The car is a heavy beast  and one forum suggests that all that weight, around 2.5 tonnes, plays havoc with the shock absorbers. Should these go you have to replace a pair, not just one, so this can get exxy, around $8-10,000 for the two.

The Conti doesn’t like to be left alone either, as it simply wears down its battery, so drive it regularly and keep it charged well. A battery tender is probably a wise purchase and will save you enormous angst.

According to HonestJohn website in the UK, Bentley Conti GT’s had the second highest warranty claims amongst European cars. But lets face it, you’ve bought a very expensive car and after 2 years of trouble free motoring you need to replace the tyre pressure sensors. Would you fork out your own cash or use the warranty you’ve paid for? Rich people are rich for a reason, and rightly will use their purchases well. So I don’t read anything sinister into this claim.

Finally, yes this car is expensive to maintain, but bugger me, you are not forking out the original $350k, only a third of that price, and if you did have the choice between this car and a high spec Mercedes, the costs to maintain either are very similar. If the car you are considering has been lovingly looked after, there is a very real prospect that you only have to keep up with the service schedule. Mileage is low, considering, and if there had been issues, more often than not they will have been rectified by now.

 

Typical Costs

Minor Service – c.$1200-1500

Major Service – c.$3000

Front Brake pads – c.$600

Front discs – c.$1400

Don’t take my word for it ….

I have listed a number of forums and reviews below, including one from my favourite magazine, EVO, and CAR magazine’s 4 year long term test:

EVO – http://www.evo.co.uk/buying/buyingguide/288202/bentley_continental_gt_buying_guide_prices_and_specs.html

The Bentley Continental GT combines near-supercar pace with a reputation for reliability

CAR Long Term test – http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Drives/Search-Results/Long-term-tests/Bentley-Continental-GT/

genuine everyday usability, and the ability to turn even the most mundane trip into an event.

Forums:

6Speedonlinehttp://www.6speedonline.com/forums/bentley/298579-continental-gt-reliability.html

I have 41,000 miles on the clock and the only major repair were new control arms as bushes were slightly worn. I needed a wheel alignment so to ensure everything was spot on I had the arms changed though it wasnt a must but hey its a Miss B, cant really save a bit here or there. I did have a lambda sensor and auto door close module replaced but prices were acceptable. You can search my name for the parts I had replaced at main dealers. I will still use the main dealers for oil service as I want to keep the Bentley service history (better for when the time comes to part out) but other work can use other pro shops. I got hit by the dealer once but a smarter shopper now since finding a shop capable of repairs.

Master Class Autohttp://www.masterclassauto.com/post/bentley-continental-common-problems/

With all its beauty, though, there are some common issues to note. The Bentley Continental’s Continuous Dampening Control (CDC) is an adjustable air suspension that helps deliver vehicle stability and agility. But at 5,456 pounds, The Bentley Continental GT’s curb weight can put a lot of pressure on the shocks. Many owners have experienced problems with their air suspension even when their vehicle is still at very low mileage.

The list price PER SHOCK at a local dealership can be as high as $3,200.00 NOT INCLUDING labor costs. Therefore, it is not atypical to see a full air suspension job for a Bentley Continental GT to run as high as $16,000!

*It is important to note: these types of suspension products must be done in pairs (front/rear). So you can’t just replace one!
Maintenance Tips
• When parking your vehicle overnight (especially if for more than a few days) set the adjustable air suspension to the lowest ride setting. This can help alleviate pressure on the air suspension and potentially increase their lifespan.
• Test the adjustable air suspension regularly. Maintaining movement in the suspension ensures flexibility in the rubber materials and help prevent the pneumatic parts, valves and sensors from failing due to lack of use.
• Listen for air leaks coming from the shock area and check for warning lights on the console. Addressing these issues early may help prevent additional damage to surrounding parts in the vehicle.

I am a Bentley Service Advisor. The Bentley Continentals are great cars, but can have expensive repairs if required. I definitely recommend getting a car with a Bentley Extended Service Program. This can help limit out-of-pocket expenses should anything go wrong. Otherwise, I have clients with 60K-90K miles on their GTs/Flying Spurs and they are running fine. Just keep it maintained properly.

I love mine and drive it 2-3 times per week and on all long solo trips. It is fast, classy, luxurious, and dependable. The navigation is not the best, but everything else is first class.

I have had no other issues in the past few years with it and it has only had to be in the shop for regular service.

I had to replace all my tire sensors, but that did not cause any other failures on the car. It only meant I got an annoying message that my tire pressures. No big deal really. I am now over 40k miles after 5 years driving it and drove it just yesterday and it is still an amazing car. Running costs have been lower than with my Ferrari that I drove 1/10 as much

Edmundshttp://www.edmunds.com/bentley/continental-gt/2005/consumer-reviews/2/

 85% satisfaction rating

Bentley Continental GT

bentley conti GT speed

Price when new (2003-2004): $ 353,000 – 400,000

Price now (May 2014): $ 120,000 +

For some unknown reason I have had this faint idea in the back of mind that someday I will be driving around in an all wheel drive Bentley Continental GT. Wishful thinking I hear you say, and I dare say you are right. The thing is I would probably plump for an Aston if I had that amount of dosh, something like $400-500,000 in today’s market, so it has always been a questionable dream for me. Why the Bentley? It ticks all the boxes of course. It’s beautifully made, looks a million dollars, has an extremely powerful engine and is superbly fast. But it’s not an Aston.

Bentley-Continental-GT-steering-wheel

Back in 2003 when it was introduced, it was the first ever Bentley to use mass produced parts. Though much of it was still hand built, the marque’s new owners, VW, forced the brand to use the same platform as its wonderful Phaeton and share its brand spanking new 6 litre twin turbo W12 engine. Because of this, Bentley took more orders for its new car than any other it had ever built and has since gone on to be its biggest seller globally. It is perhaps because of the numbers sold that resale values plummeted and today in the UK you can get hold of a 2004 built model for as little as £25-30,000. Here in Australia, it is not quite as rosy, mainly because the car was sold at astronomically inflated prices in the first place, much like other high end makes and a practice I have whined about on this site before.

However, we weren’t immune from the depreciation issue and so the price you can get a GT for now is almost within our grasp, that is if you are a company director and have a company car budget that would get you a high spec Merc or Bimmer. So, consider this Mr. MD, or CEO, why bother getting a car that everyone is driving around in, when say, for $130-150,000, you can now get a 2004 or 2005 Continental GT with around 40,000 on the clock. Yes it’s second hand, but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference alongside a new one, and who in their right mind would have spent over a third of a million bucks and not look after it properly? The car is essentially brand new!

2013 bentley conti gt interior
Courtesy of bharathautos.com

 

Aha, I hear you say, think of the costs and how much of a money pit it will be. Utter tosh, I would reply, the car has a reputation for being over-engineered and almost nothing has been known to go wrong with them. I say almost nothing, because there a few little issues, but as you can read under the Research category, these tend to be sensor or electrical issues, and very minor ones at that. There will always be one owner out there who will moan, but look around the forums and you will notice that at least 85% of buyers have been utterly, ecstatically happy with their purchase. Even those who bought second hand.

As with any second hand car, super or not, if it is not maintained regularly then you are asking for trouble. Yes a Bentley will cost more to service than a BMW. Yes a part, however innocuous, will astound you with its price, though not quite as eye watering as a Lamborghini or Ferrari, thanks largely to the mass production, and because of the size of the engine and the lack of space under the bonnet, even a spark plug change can mean that the engine has to come out of its bay. And yes, you will be visiting the gas station more than you’d like.

used-2004-bentley-continental_gt-basetrim-4162-11470398-21-640

The good news however is that there are no belts to worry about with this engine. The lack of kilometres driven even for an 8 year old car mean it is still within warranty, and if it is not, you can purchase an extra 1, 2 or 3 years from Bentley for peace of mind.

So perhaps my whimsical dreams are not so whimsical. Perhaps its because they are so much cheaper than I thought, so much more within reach, that I could actually be driving around in one. Perhaps that is why my brain has singled the Conti GT out. Perhaps someone will offer me the stewardship of a fortune 500 company and a car allowance to boot. Perhaps …

Fast Facts

Engine – 6 litre Twin Turbo W12

Power – 423 kW; 567 bhp

Top Speed  – 317 km/h / 197 mph

0-100 km/h – 4.4 seconds

Fuel Consumption – av. 14 L/100 km (but you’d be driving like your Gran)

Price – 2004 model with 40,000kms – $120,000 +

Research – http://wp.me/p3rCxt-kk

 

By: CONCAVO WHEELS - CC BY 2.0
By: CONCAVO WHEELSCC BY 2.0