Bentley Reinvents Production Process for New Continental GT
Jeepers, creepers… where did you get those LED headlights? In the case of the Continental GT, Bentley Motors director of design Stefan Sielaff channeled cut-crystal glasses into the third generation of the grand tourer. But more significant is its aluminum exterior, which is nearly 200 pounds lighter than its previous incarnation. That’s because the panels are superformed, a technique involving heating the metal to nearly 1,000 degrees. “We literally had to invent a new production process to accomplish this,” Sielaff explains. “The lesson is that it’s not only the creative act of designing something new but also fighting to bring it into production.”
Customers have a hand in the production, too. There are 70 paint colors, 15 carpet options, and eight wood species, including Bentley’s newest, koa, to choose from. There’s also 15 different kinds of hide, for which it took 18 months to develop the embroidery; each individual diamond shape takes 712 stitches. Another figure is in the hundreds: the GT’s top speed, which is over 200 miles per hour.