1996 Bentley Continental R

Rolls-Royce introduced the Project 90 concept car at the 1984 Geneva Motor Show. Many elements of this design would make its way into a new Bentley, which was backed by much enthusiasm and rave reviews of the concept. By 1991 the Continental R was ready and made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Again, the response was exceptional and the reviews were enthusiastic. The red show car that made its appearance at Geneva was purchased immediately by the Sultan of Brunei.

The body was designed by Ken Greenley and John Hefernan and was uncommon for a Bentley. It was aerodynamic, curvy, and sleek giving it an impressive 0.73 coefficient of drag. Its sporty image was enhanced by the sixteen-inch alloy wheels that could be found on all four corners. Its modern style was enhanced by the roof-cut door frames and a slight spoiler effect in the rear. This was the first Bentley with a body all its own since the S3 of 1965. Prior to this, it had shared many characteristics and platforms with the Rolls-Royce.

The name 'Continental' draws from the company's heritage and the names that adorned the pre-WWII Bentleys. The 'R' was in honor of the 1950's Bentley Type R models and the Turbo R's of the 1980s. This continued the tradition of a potent powertrain, impressive design, unquestionable elegance, and unrivaled comfort.

Under the sleek bonnet was a 6.75-liter Garrett-turbocharged engine producing an impressive 325 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque. These figures are estimates since the company never actually produced official ratings. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a GM 4L80-E automatic four-speed gearbox. This equation equaled a 145 miles-per-hour top speed with zero-to-sixty taking just 6.6 seconds. Stopping was also impressive, provided by its disc brakes with the front being ventilated. The interior was plush and comfortable with nearly every amenity available at the time and the instruments were finished in wood.

This package came at a price that immediately sent it into the exclusive club that only the well-to-do can afford. In 1992, a Bentley Continental R would set the lucky purchaser back $271,780US.

The Bentley Continental S was produced from 1994 through 1995 with 18 examples being produced. It was a limited-edition model that boosted the performance of the vehicle to a higher level, thanks to the addition of an intercooler. In a similar fashion, the Bentley Continental R Mulliner was another boost to the already impressive vehicle. Horsepower was raised to 420 and the torque lifted to 650 foot-pounds. The top speed was estimated at 170 mph. Bentley introduced the Mulliner at the Geneva Motor Show in 1999 and it was left up to the customers to customize to their exact requirements and specifications. The customers worked closely with the engineers and designers to create a unique vehicle that was up to their desires and expectations. Production lasted until 2003.

The Bentley Continental T was the pinnacle of the Continental series with a heavy emphasis on sporty characteristics while still maintaining a high degree of luxury, though luxury did take a back seat to performance. The Continental T originally produced 590 foot-pounds of torque but by 1997 that figure was raised to 650. With a shortened wheelbase, 2+2 configuration, and extended wheel arches, the Continental T looked very aggressive and undeniably sporty. The customer had the opportunity to specify components such as opting for the modified sock absorbers and stiffer torsion bars. This allowed the driver to take full advantage of the power-plant and propel the vehicles through anything the road had to offer. The press seemed to think differently as they gave the vehicles handling low marks.

The interior featured chrome finish instrumentation and a push-button starter. A gentle touch of the button and the vehicle would roar to life.

Production of the Continental T lasted from 1996 through 2002 with 322 examples being created. In 1999 Bentley offered the Continental T Mulliner, in a similar fashion to the Continental R Mulliner. In total there were 23 examples of the Continental T Mulliner produced. Five Continental T Le Mans vehicles were produced.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2006
After years and years of producing 'fast trucks' in the form of the Arnage R and T twins, Bentley tried something new, and the result was the fabulous Bentley Continental R.

A large, expensive, luxury coupe created by Rolls Royce, the Bentley Continental R was introduced in 1991.

Debuted at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show, it reportadly upstaged the W140, S-Class that was also on display.With an overwhelming clamour by the crowd, the Continental R was considered a success. The Sultan of Brunei purchased the red show car didrectly off the Geneva stand.

Many of its original elements were first seen at the 1984 Geneva Motor Shows during Rolls-Toyce 'Project 90' concept car. It was a mock-up future Bentley coupe that inspired such enthusiastic clamour that let to the Contental R.
The Contintal R was the first Bentley that had a unique body not shared with a Rolls-Royce model since the S3 of 1965. The quickest, most powerful and most expensive Bentley of its day. The Continental R was also the first to utilitze the GM 4L80-E transmission.

The body of the vehicle was stylishly designed by both Ken Greenley and John Heffernan. They are responsible for the Continental R's slight curving Coke bottle shape which differed drastically to the slab-sized Rolls and Bentley vehicles of the time.

Based on the Bentley Turbo R floorplan, the Continental R had an aerodynamically shaped coupe body. It also featured roof-cut door frames in the modern style and a spoiler effect in the rear that was very subtle, and the sixteen-inch alloy wheels gave it a sporting look.

The Continteal R featured a 6.75 L Garrett-turbo charged engine from the Bentley Turbo R and had a power output of 325 hp (242 kW). The vehicle also featured the new 4-speed GM 4L80-E automatic transmission wih ventilated disc brakes front and plain discs at the rear. It had the ability to reach a top speed of 145 mph and was priced around $271,780 in 1992.

The R was used to recall the R Type Bentleys from the 1950's along with the Turbo R of the 1980's. While the 'Contintental' designation was meant to recall the post-war period Bentley Continental which was famous for its asthetically pleasing design and custom features and impressive powertrain.

Introduced in 1995, the Bentley Azure was a convertible derivative of the Continental R.

A limited-edition performance model, the Continental S was produced in 1994 with an additional intercooler. After the 18 S models were completed, the intercooler which pushed power output up was applied to the Contintental R.

By Jessica Donaldson
The most expensive, luxurious and most powerful Bentley of its day, the Bentley Continental R was introduced in 1991 by Rolls-Royce. Unique in the fact that it had a body not shared with a Rolls Royce model since the 1965 S3 was showcased, the Continental R was the signature coupe that was the first to use the GM 4L80-E transmission.

The Geneva Motor Show in 1984 gave viewers their first glimpse of the Continental R design in Rolls-Royce's 'Project 90' concept vehicle. The concept car featured an aerodynamically shaped coupe body had been styled that was based on the Bentley Turbo R floor-plan. Due to the enthusiasm it evoked, the Continental R was eventually introduced in 1991 at the Geneva Motor Show. The response was amazingly exuberant at the introduction, so much in fact that the Sultan of Brunei even purchased the red show car right off of the Geneva stand.

The post-war period was very reminiscent in the Continental especially in the name. The successful Turbo R of the 1980's and the R Type Bentleys were the inspiration behind the ‘R' behind the designation. The combination of a dramatic power-train and mesmeric design, along with custom features specified by customers, made the Continental R reach exclusive fame.

The body design was a departure for the Rolls Royce marque, and was styled by the joint efforts of John Heffernan and Ken Greenley. In comparison to the slab-sided Rolls and Bentley cars of the time, the Continental R was designed with a slight curving Coke bottle shape. A sporting look was achieved with sixteen-inch alloy wheels, and the roof-cut door frames on the Continental R were designed in the modern style with subtle spoiler effect in the rear.

With a power output of 325 hp (242 kW), the 6.75 L Garret-turbocharged engine from the Bentley Turbo R was picked. Utilizing the all-new 4-speed GM 4L80-E automatic transmission, the Continental R also featured ventilated disc front brakes and plain discs at the rear. The vehicle was estimated with a top speed of 145 mph, and had an estimated 6.6 second sprint to 60 mph. The Bentley Continental R was priced at $271,780 in 1992. A total of 1533 units were produced during the Continental R's production run from 1991 to 2002.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006

Concepts by Bentley

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1996 Continental R
1996 Bentley Continental R Base Price : $271,780

Model Year Production

2001Jeep (455,417)Ferrari (792)
2000Ford (965,029)Pontiac (573,805)Chevrolet (547,294)11,206
1999Ford (918,040)Honda (733,878)Chevrolet (609,100)11,006
1998Ford (878,405)Honda (751,032)Chevrolet (561,218)
1997Ford (913,440)Honda (722,431)Chevrolet (650,820)
1996Ford (1,036,048)Honda (680,711)Pontiac (541,844)
1995Ford (1,012,818)Chevrolet (665,955)Honda (643,336)
1994Ford (1,220,512)Chevrolet (651,647)Honda (650,105)169
1993Ford (1,026,338)Chevrolet (692,116)Honda (608,149)
1992Ford (922,488)Honda (648,745)Chevrolet (647,227)
1991Chevrolet (895,569)Honda (659,659)Buick (544,325)

Related Automotive News

© 1998-2021. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Vehicle information, history, And specifications from concept to production.
Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed
© 1998-2020 Reproduction Or reuse prohibited without written consent.