Vilner Bentley Continental GT is Fashionably Late
The first generation Bentley Continental GT was the brand’s first all-new model to be developed under Volkswagen ownership. But more significantly, if changed the way most people thought about Bentley. Prior to the introduction of the Contintal GT, Bentley was regarded as a cheaper, sportier alternative to then-sister-brand Rolls-Royce. After the arrival of the GT, Bentley was suddenly hip and in-demand, arguably more so than Rolls-Royce (which was by then very much a BMW property).
And because the Continental GT was so popular with buyers, it was also popular with tuners. However, Vilner seemed to be reluctant to throw its hat into the ring. That all changes with the car you see here. So is it a case of better late than never?
Well, let’s start with the body. Vilner adds new, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, front fenders, door skins, rocker panel extensions, a rear spoiler and rear fender vents. Over these pieces (and the stock ones), a matte graphite gray vinyl wrap is applied. Combine that with black wheels and lightly tinted windows and exterior lamp lenses, and you have a tuner car that looks like something a brooding, edgy graphic novel antihero would drive. Yes, we’re still very much over the matte finish craze, but on the whole, we dig this thing.
We also like the interior, which is really Vilner’s area of expertise. The stock old money, Old World wood and leather trim is removed (rather carefully, we assume), and an acre or two of carbon fiber and Alcantara are installed in their place. It really is a comprehensive transformation; even the seatbelts have been replaced with color-keyed red three-point harnesses to yield a sinister visual and tactile “Pop!”
But if you want real pop, give the gas pedal a tickle. Thanks to a host of (unspecified) changes to the 6.0L twin-turbo W12, output shoots up from 552hp to 660hp. So even though it has a 6-speed automatic transmission rather than the new Continental GT’s 8-speeder, the Vilner-fied first-gen Conti should have no trouble smoking its stock successor. However, exactly how long it will take to stop the clocks and give the radar gun a reading is still a mystery to everyone outside the Bulgarian tuner.
The price is also being kept close to Vilner’s vest. But considering this baby is based on a Gen 1 Continental GT, you’ll be shelling out a lot less for the foundation of your tuned Bentley. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have enough money left over to have a graphic novel based on your life (very, very, very loosely based, in our case) made!