Pros: The fastest model yet in Bentley's nearly 100-year history; dialed-in handling with more driver involvement; lavish interior appointments

Cons: Behind-the-times navigation interface; interior switchgear plucked from the Volkswagen parts bin; less costly V8 version offers compelling competition

What's New: The current, range-topping 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed coupe now features performance specs that meet, and in some cases exceed, those of the outgoing Supersports model. More aggressively tuned suspension offers more road feel, while reduced aerodynamic drag and curb weight aid the car's high-speed handling. Increased turbocharger boost from the W12 engine also helps elevate torque and horsepower output, while the 8-speed gearbox previously available only in the V8 version now enhances powerplant flexibility.

It takes quite a bit of fine tuning to squeeze more power from the mighty 12-cylinder engine in Bentley's flagship coupe, but the company's mechanical engineers achieved exactly that with the $215,000 Continental GT Speed. Boasting a claimed 0-to-60 miles per hour time of four seconds and a 205-mph top speed (1 mph faster than the outgoing Supersports GT), the new Continental GT Speed is a high-performance machine that somehow defies its portly curb weight of 5,115 pounds. To tame those supercar-like performance numbers, the latest GT is more aerodynamic, has more buttoned-down suspension settings and boasts the largest brakes on any production car.

While the interior of the 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed features many of the sumptuous details we've come to expect from the Winged B nameplate, including fragrant leather trim and rich wood veneers, some details (like the metal shift gate and instrument panel buttons) betray their Volkswagen heritage. Though there's nothing wrong with their functional design, we wouldn't mind if this sleek coupe felt a bit more bespoke, a la the higher-priced Mulsanne sedan. The navigation system is also disappointingly outdated, which is something nobody should put up with at any price, let alone one that can easily creep toward $250,000 with options piled on.

Regardless of its occasional shortcomings, Bentley's latest 2-door manages to thrill with its seemingly unlikely combination of Herculean speed, surefooted handling and iron-clad insulation from road and wind noise. There may be plenty of more affordable options when it comes to comparable performance numbers, but few coupes can match the composure and luxuriousness offered by the Bentley Continental GT Speed.

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Basem Wasef is an automotive journalist, author, and photographer with two coffee table books under his belt, and is a regular contributor to Popular Mechanics, Robb Report, and Maxim among others. When Basem isn't traveling the globe testing vehicles, he enjoys calling Los Angeles home.

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