Bentley Continental GT V8 S

Prudently wealthy

"Stylish and luxury coupe with sporting agility"

"Firmer, stiffer, faster and more responsive" said Issam

"The variance of one letter in a model makes a vigorous change in Bentley's range"

"Accurately a majestic car when driven on a majestic scale"

It's been quite nearly 100 years that this British manufacturer is building Flying B for some rich drivers who want to show off their wealth and to draw their way into a prosperous community. I always had in mind and probably most of you that people driving Bentleys are men wearing expensive watches and apparels and the most vital thing smoking cigar or pipe.

Two years ago I flew to Spain to drive the V8 engine which was recently introduced at that time in parallel with the W12. This summer was really great for me. It is an unusual drive. I collected the GT V8 S with a Dubai plated vehicle from the official dealer of Bentley in Lebanon Saad&Trad.

Exterior
While the elegant coachwork of the Continental GT is inspired by iconic Bentleys of the past, its modern, sculpted design, with crisp, highly defined feature lines, is formed using advanced body construction techniques, achieving class-leading standards of quality and body integrity.

For the new 'S models, the design of the Continental takes a more dramatic direction and its enhanced road presence is clear before a wheel is turned. The lowered suspension provides a more sleek and purposeful stance, complemented by unique, lower-body styling including a sharp front splitter, discrete side sills and subtle rear diffuser finished in Beluga gloss. The black gloss radiator grille with single chrome divider bar and 'figure of eight' exhaust tail pipes instantly signify the powerful V8 engine.

The signature 20-inch wheels are unique to the 'S' models with an open-spoke design that reveals distinctive, red-painted brake calipers. Subtle 'V8 S' badges are applied to each front fender, and as with the other members of the Continental V8 family, the famous Bentley Wings badges feature a red centre.

Interior
The cabin of the Continental GT is renowned for its supreme luxury with soft-touch leathers, wood veneers, polished metals and deep-pile carpeting, hand-crafted in Bentley's unrivalled workshops at the factory in Crewe, England.

The cabin of the 'S' models presents a thoroughly modern interpretation of Bentley luxury in which colour and tone offer further appeal to the senses.

Available with a range of striking duo-tone interiors, customers may also select from the full range of seventeen hide colours. The GT V8 S coupe also features a unique contrast centre-stripe for the hide-trimmed roof lining, matched to the colour of the main hide. Contrast stitching throughout, including to the steering wheel, is also available as an option.

Knurled chrome detailing to the gearshift lever and ventilation controls provide a perfect contrast to the Piano Black veneers which are sanded and lacquered up to 18 times to produce a truly flawless finish. Discreet 'V8 S' badges are displayed on each sill tread plate.

As with all Continental models, the 'S' models include advanced infotainment technology as standard, including an 8-inch touchscreen which displays the car's navigation, audio and  telephone systems as well as the ride and comfort settings for the air suspension, all complemented by a 30GB on-board hard drive.

Driving Impressions
My driving experience was in Lebanon. And this is remarkably a cool weather. It is because I have chosen the Cedars Mountain. In fact it was breeze weather in the hills and seemed to chilly the Cedars local people. We are talking here somewhere 2,500 meters above sea level.  Talking about a wealthy car with a Dubai plate number, that wasn't in my favor honestly speaking, I had to pass by to buy a pack of cigarettes and bottle of water inside the village. I went in to the small market and it seemed that the old man behind the counter had a look on the car. I grabbed the pack of cigarette. I gave him 10,000 Lebanese Lira (6.66 $USD). So basically the pack costs 2 $USD. He took the 10,000 paper and looked at me saying, "What a lovely automobile you have outside, may God bless you" and he didn't bother himself to give me the change. I moved back to the car to continue my journey.

The V8 S is four-wheel drive so I can make very rapid progress. The air suspension system is adjustable; this doesn't necessarily lead to sloping like a combat cruiser in tight turns. I noticed quite an impressive mark of accuracy in my entire experience; the eight-speed automatic transmission intermittently left me waiting on response to my paddle shift command. When I selected manual or sport mode on the transmission, I had an increased amount of engine and exhaust noise. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 didn't bother me at all especially that I was chatting with my friend next to during the whole roadtrip. Its occurrence in the background, rumble and thunder has definitely boosted my driving experience.

Verdict
Well I have to say that the V8 might be the sportier choice over the W12. Great to look at, great to drive and if you have the money I'd surely recommend one. But be vigilant it might need some white hair or bald head so It can really costume your appearance in terms of cash and mellowness.

Rivals:

Pros: Plenty of torque, striking design, well-crafted cabin
Cons: Still heavy although the V8 engine is lighter, thirsty in fuel, paddle shifters
One word: Rich
4 stars

Specs

4-litre twin-turbocharged, V8, 521 hp, 680 Nm
ZF 8-speed automatic with Quickshift, AWD
Top speed: 309 kph, 0-100 kph: 4.5 secs, fuel consumption: 10.6 litres/100 km
Weight: 2295 kg

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