What is the Bentley Continental GT?
A sporting car for gentlemen who have left behind their days of impersonating The Stig at the wheel of a Porsche or Ferrari. As its name suggests, the Bentley Continental GT has been designed with the capability to cross continents in complete comfort and at a fair old lick.
A new model was introduced in February 2012, and with it came a V8 engine that endows the GT with better fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions, yet never feels anything less than blisteringly fast. Beyond that, it’s business as usual, with accommodation for four people and a cabin utterly steeped in luxury.
The new V8 engine is sourced from Audi, and while some purists may scoff at the thought of a Bentley with a “puny” 4-litre engine from a mass-market manufacturer, they would soon change their tune after driving it. Bentley’s engineers have reworked the V8 at the factory in Crewe, and the end result is a thunderous 500 horsepower capable of hustling the big coupe from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and on to 188mph, snarling like the hounds of hell as it goes.
Equally impressive is the Bentley’s cylinder deactivation mode, which contributes to the car’s very reasonable combined-cycle 26.7mpg (a huge improvement on the 17mpg of the 6-litre W12, 12-cylinder version), as does the state-of-the-art, eight-speed automatic transmission.
As ever, the engine drives all four wheels, so roadholding is little short of spectacular in all weathers. And what an experience driving the GT is, its imperious feel coming from its ability to cover ground at an indecent rate while cocooning its occupants in a cabin with the aura of a gentleman’s club lounge.
The Continental GT’s interior is as comfortable and luxurious as one could hope for in a car of such large performance potential. It even has its own signature aroma thanks to the yards of hand-stitched, quilted leather and faultlessly veneered wood trim.
Under the skin, much of the Bentley’s electronic gadgetry is shared with Audi and Volkswagen, although Bentley’s people have done a grand job of dressing it up to satisfy the expectations of people prepared to pay almost £124,000 for their ride. Almost everything on board has a well-oiled, perfectly damped action, or clicks with marvellous precision. As for accommodation, the Continental’s cabin is of sufficient proportions to carry four adults in perfect comfort, and it allows them to bring along their Louis Vuitton luggage, too.
The One to Buy
There is only one Continental GT V8.
- £123,850 (correct at time of first publication)
- 3993cc, twin-turbo V8
- 500bhp @ 6000rpm
- 487 lb ft @ 1700rpm
- Eight-speed automatic
- 0-62mph 4.8sec
- Top Speed:
- 26.9mpg combined
- Road Tax Band:
- L 4806mm W 1944mm H1404mm