The top speed listed on most cars is usually a rather theoretical affair. After all, where can you actually drive a car to its v-max, anyway? Well there are a few highways in the world – and really only a few – that will let you drive as fast as you can. One of them is in the Australian outback, so that's where Bentley took its new Continental GT Speed.

The road in question is called the Stuart Highway. It's a 1,761-mile road which runs across the continent from Darwin in the north to Port Augusta in the south. That's about the same distance as driving from New York to Denver. Only unlike any of the highways you'd take to drive across America, the Stuart Highway has one long stretch of 120 miles between Alice Springs and Barrow Creek that is completely derestricted, and has been for the past two years since local authorities set about trying out removing the speed limit.

To see how fast the new GT Speed could actually go in the real world, Bentley put Aussie touring car champion John Bowe behind the wheel and let 'er rip. The result is a top speed clocked at 206 miles per hour. That's pretty darn fast for any car, let alone one that weighs a massive 5,000 pounds. Its 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine contributes significantly to that curb weight, but with 626 horsepower and 607 pound-feet of torque on tap, it also has the muscle to keep the Conti pulling like a freight train all the way up past the double-century mark. Watch it unfold in the video above.

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BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT SPEED: VMAX IN THE OUTBACK

- Continental GT Speed hits 206 mph (331 km/h) top speed on Stuart Highway, Australia
- Northern Territory route one of only three derestricted roads in the world
- Australian racing legend, John Bowe, takes Grand Tourer on extraordinary high-speed run
- Continental GT Speed combines supercar performance with supreme luxury

(Crewe, 04 November 2015) The 16MY Bentley Continental GT Speed has been taken to its top speed of 206 mph (331 km/h)* by Australian racing legend, John Bowe, on the derestricted Stuart Highway** deep in the Northern territory.

The 635 PS (626 bhp), 820 Nm (607 lb.ft) W12-powered GT Speed Grand Tourer reached Vmax in just 76 seconds, covering a distance of 9.4 kilometres in the process. At top speed, the 6.0-litre twin-turbo Grand Tourer was covering a staggering 92 metres (or one football pitch) per second.

John Bowe said: "This isn't a modified racecar; it's a luxurious grand touring road car fresh off the production line. It took us a little over a minute to go from a standstill to 206 mph. That's extraordinary. Even when you break through the 200 mph barrier, the GT Speed just keeps accelerating."

The Stuart Highway covers a distance of 1,761 miles (2,834 km) from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Port Augusta, South Australia – approximately the same distance as London to Istanbul or New York to Denver. In October 2013 the local Government announced a trial period of reverting to an open speed limit on the 120-mile (200 km) stretch between Alice Springs and Barrow Creek.

At Vmax the 16MY Bentley Continental GT Speed is circulating 216 litres of coolant through its engine and radiator per minute; drawing over 4,700 litres of air through its radiator each second; and using 80 per cent of its engine power just to overcome aerodynamic loads.

A six-time Australian touring car and two-time Bathurst 1,000 champion, John Bowe was the perfect choice of driver for Bentley's high-speed run in the 'Red Centre'. He is also familiar with the Continental as he currently races a GT3 Down Under with Flying B Racing.

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