There are lots of tough-to-explain things about the previous-generation Bentley Continental GT. A lifesaver for an ultra-luxury brand that shared parts with a 15-year-old Volkswagen and available with a confounding W-12 engine, the last Conti was inexplicable by the time it was replaced. Nothing, though, was quite as confounding as Bentley’s decision to offer the track-focused Continental GT3-R.
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Part of me sees where the logic comes from. Bentley has a storied history in racing, with full-fledged race car versions of both the current and previous-generation Continental GT. The Continental has also set ice speed and Pikes Peak records. But the thing is, as the former record shows, the old Continental was much more about muscle and high-speed cruising than track driving. It wasn’t until the new generation, with its closer relation to the Porsche Panamera and its new 48-volt active anti-roll bar, that the Bentley became seriously athletic.
After all, the old Continental had its engine mostly ahead of the front axle, meaning a significant portion of its around-5000-pound mass was dangling by its nose. A spacious trunk, back seats, and a leather-lined cabin with ample sound deadening made clear that it was not a sports car at heart. Still, Bentley tried to make one anyway with the limited-production GT3-R.
It featured the same V-8 as the 500-horsepower base model, but amped up to produce 592 hp. Still fewer ponies than the W-12, but with far less weight in the nose. Total curb weight for this, the lightest Continental GT, came in 4397 pounds. A true featherweight, if the carbon-fiber trim is to be believed. In our 2016 Performance Car of the Year testing, the Bentley drew praise for its absurdity and criticism for its light steering and easily overwhelmed brakes.
So the GT3-R likely wouldn’t have been a sales champion even if it were easily attainable, but Bentley reserved just 99 of the 300 total production cars for the U.S. Now, one’s for sale. And because it’s mostly loved by die-hard Bentley fans who want something more hardcore, values aren’t insane. This one, for sale on eBay motors, is listed for $134,900 or best offer.
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