The Continental GT is easily Bentley's biggest-selling model and the car that kick-started the company's extraordinary growth in sales since its launch in 2003.

Now, after eight years, it has received a mid-life make-over, with changes being made to the metal work and interior.

So when Bentley gave me the chance to spend a week with the latest £168,080 Continental GT, I was keen to see whether this revised premium grand-tourer can still cut it against rivals.

See more of the Continental GT in action with my video road test below:



Other design changes for the face-lifted Continental GT include sharper more sculpted flanks. This is most obvious around the rear quarters in the curve for the wheel arches.

Move to the back of the Bentley and it's obvious that the boot is more pronounced, the rear lights bigger and the reversing light better integrated into the rear bumper in one long strip.

On first look, it's hard to spot the changes to the interior of the Continental GT. Like the last GT, it's a wonderful place to spend time and there can be few rivals that do the mixture of soft leather, walnut veneers and chrome so well.



To sum up, it's nice to see that despite Volkswagen ownership, there's still a wonderfully opulent, hand-built feel to the latest Bentley.

Look closer and you'll see there are new, slimmer, hollowed out front seats. This means there's more room for back seat passengers, however, they're still really only for children or short trips for adults.

Other than that, there's a (slightly) smaller steering wheel and Volkswagen's latest touchscreen multimedia system, which incorporates a high-quality Naim sound system.



Inside, the driving position is good and the new seats really comfortable. It's a shame then that the re-design didn't cover things such as the positioning of some of the switchgear. The indicator stalk is really too close to the left-hand gearchange paddle and I lost count of how many times I grabbed another gear instead of the indicators.

I also found it quite hard to understand how the adjustable dampers worked too.

Power from the Bentley's 6.0-litre W12 engine is up to 567bhp, with torque up to 516lbft, which equals a 0-60mph time of just 4.4 seconds and a licence-losing top speed of 198mph.



Just don't mention the Combined fuel consumption of 17.1mpg, or the C02 emissions of 384g/km. Still I'd doubt these figures will bother the type of buyer of this car.

It might weigh 2320kg, but the acceleration of the W12 engine is memorable. Show the Bentley a corner and it's a capable handler too, with responsive steering, plenty of grip from the four-wheel drive and bodyroll kept well in check.

Shame then, that the ride on these optional 21-inch alloy wheels is unsettled. Probably best go for smaller wheels for grand touring duties.



So, if you're in the market for a new grand tourer, should you buy the new Bentley? Well, there are few cars that have such a beautifully finished interior and I think that the sharper styling is aggressive but still distinctively a Bentley. There's really nothing else like it and if I had the money I'd be sorely tempted.