The engineering and craftsmanship of the interior of the new Continental GT exemplifies the attention to detail involved in the creation of an all-new Bentley.
Key interior components are specified to a tolerance of just 0.1mm – twice the thickness of a human hair. For example, the chrome strip that runs across the main fascia is exactly 3.0 mm thick.
The new Côtes de Genève technical finish to the centre console is machined on aluminium just 0.6mm thick. This beautiful watch-inspired finish is created by machining the aluminium from side to side to create a linear pattern. Each row is 5 mm wide and machined at an angle to give a truly three-dimensional finish, with each pass of the machine making a minute step of 0.5 mm.
The new “Diamond Knurling” design is available for the iconic Bullseye vents, bezels and other primary control rotaries and not only gives a finely faceted visual impact but serves to provide a precise technical feel when operating the controls.
Two different seats are available – a standard seat with 12 ways of movement, and an optional enhanced seat with 20 ways of movement based on customer feedback. Specific foam chemistries have been developed for the new seats, tuning the foam hardness for each individual piece to balance spring, damping and durability characteristics.
Pneumatically actuated active bolsters provide lateral support for the driver and respond to cornering forces. During development, particular attention was paid to designing the system to avoid creasing the leather. The bolsters automatically deflate when the car is switched off, to allow for an easier egress.
The new “diamond in diamond” interior pattern features both stitching and embroidery. The inner diamonds are embroidered, using a specially-designed machine that balances high speed with quality. Eighteen months were spent developing the embroidery, individually optimising and programming the exact alignment of each one of the 712 stitches that make up each diamond shape – an unrivalled attention to detail. The embroidery process always begins at the bottom of each diamond, for the best finished appearance.
The embroidery process causes the leather panel to shrink by 12 per cent – which has to be accounted for when each panel is cut.
The leather used to trim all the interior surfaces is shaved to a consistent 1mm thickness, both to save weight and to ensure repeatability – leather of uniform thickness is easier to handcraft in to consistent shapes.
Special leather processes allow airbags to burst through the front fascia without the need for visible lines or separate panels. The very small gap between the top of the fascia and the windscreen meant a specific, bespoke mechanism had to be developed to allow the passenger airbag to deploy.
Starting with 10 square meters of wood veneer for each new Continental GT, Bentley’s woodshop craftsmen work to specific design tolerances, but these are tuned and refined even further during the manufacturing process down to a final tolerance of 0.1 mm. The crafting of one set of wood veneer takes nine hours – and it takes two hours to meticulously apply the consecutive leaves of veneer to the Bentley Rotating Display.
Each interior is crafted from nine Northern European bull hides, stitched together with 2.8 km of thread. Every leather panel is initialled on the reverse by the Bentley colleague who made it – a personal hallmark of quality.
A quieter cabin has been achieved through the use of laminated acoustic glass for the windscreen and side windows, resulting in a -9 dbA improvement at the crucial 3.15 Khz audio frequency to reduce passing car noise.
The new Continental GT’s doors have been engineered with an “infinite check arm” – meaning they will hold themselves open in any position, as opposed to the typical three defined positions. The doors feel lighter and move more easily as a result, while a damper means the door will decelerate itself to a soft stop if thrown open, rather than bouncing back.
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