Having been introduced in 2004, the Bentley Continental GT enters 2005 with almost no changes. A new Mulliner Driving Specification package is available, with 20-inch alloy wheels, drilled alloy pedals, two-tone leather seats and diamond-quilted leather interior accents.

The Continental GT was the first new model to emerge after Volkswagen purchased Bentley in 1998. The car shares its basic platform with the Volkswagen Phaeton sedan; its W12 twin-turbo engine, which staggers the cylinders in each bank to produce a more compact engine, is based on that used by the Audi A8. Power goes to all four wheels, the first Bentley to do so. A six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission can be controlled with wheel-mounted paddles.

Bentley advertises the car as the “fastest four-seat coupe in the world”, with a top speed in excess of 290 km/h. Technically it does have four seats, although it’s really a 2+2, and the company also admits that for any length of driving time, the back seat is really meant for children. That said, it’s the left front seat that’s the important one, and the lucky person who gets to sit on that side of the upswept centre console has 479 lb-ft of torque at command, at just 1600 rpm.

The Continental GT comes with all the luxury items expected at this price, including a navigation system, wheel-mounted cruise and stereo controls, aluminum pedals, and handcrafted wood and leather interiors, all wrapped in a package that has to be one of the most beautifully designed cars on the road today.

The Continental GT is built in Crewe, England.

Connect with Autos.ca