Bentley Continental V8

Back to the Combat Zone!

When I personally first heard that Bentley Motors Company decided to launch a new V8 engine with the collaboration of Audi, I was extremely happy for them. Bentley's folks have now gotten into serious and well-packed competition with other auto makers such as Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin and Porsche. The new V8 engine offers the same Bentley spirit as the W12 engine used to but this time all in a package that brings less emissions, 40% less according to Bentley, and comes absolutely with a fiscal benefit. I am here now to talk about the drive of the GT and GTC with their new V8 engines. Follow me and I'll get you straight to the point…

Driving Impressions
Every automotive aficionado would ask only one wish: Drive on a closed circuit. So the location chosen by Bentley was just accurate for us to tender their new V8 engine on "Circuito De Navarra" in Spain.

When we had the presentation and safety briefings, we moved on to the circuit where a couple of Bentley GTs were waiting patiently for us and to be driven off the hook! At first sight, there are some clear ways to recognize the new V8 Continental. The rear pipes are completely changed to look similar to the number 8. Also the new front air dams and the rear are fitted with a red badge and different wheels.

I turned on the engine and what does it sound like? Well I personally adore V8 engines and V10 engines too, though a W12 is too big and not very pleasant on the ears. The growl of the V8 engine is just perfect. A quick description of the V8 engine sound is cool, youthful, aggressive and extroverted at the same time. This is what I call a real shifting! My test on the circuit successfully passed. I locked it into high gear so it couldn't kick down and hit the gas pedal. It pulled from the ground like thunder and lightning. There is surely no lack of torque!

The steering wheel felt accurate and precise unlike any other large vehicle where you'd feel it a little bit vague as if you are playing Xbox. My personal comparison is driving the old Bentley GT back in Beirut. On tight corners and blind corners I felt that the weight of the car couldn't really help me. But for this new V8 engine, I admit that the driving experience was not defined by the weight of the car.

The next day, I also had the opportunity to drive the white GTC V8 (convertible) on the Spanish village roads. Having the top down in sunny weather, full acceleration was really amazing, hard deceleration was no problem too. Grateful to the biggest disc-and-caliper combination, and cornering was suitably stimulated so that my co-pilot journalist kept reaching for the imaginary snatch handle. I told him we were in a convertible he won't even find it! Overall the vehicle exceeded my expectations.

Exterior
Expressing the potent, muscular character, the GT and GTC models are distinguished by a black gloss matrix grille with chrome frame and centre bar, a red enamel Bentley 'B' badge and a black matrix three-segment lower front bumper divided by distinctive body-colored strakes. At the rear, unique chromed 'figure eight' exhaust tailpipes, a dark lower valance and red enamel 'B' boot lid badge emphasize the sporty, contemporary identity of the new V8s. Both models are specified with 20-inch alloy wheels as standard with an optional 21-inch six-spoke design which is available in dramatic Diamond Black (exclusive to the Continental V8) or Diamond Silver finishes.

Interior
Inside the cabin, an Eliade cloth headlining, new contemporary Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneers, optional two-tone leather color split and short centre console continue the fresh, sporting design theme. The two new Continental models will be offered with a combination of silken refinement.

Powertrain
Both models feature a state-of-the-art, all-wheel drive system employing an advanced Torsen differential and a 40:60 rear biased power split. This ensures safe yet dynamic sports car handling in all road conditions.

Verdict
To sum it all up I honestly question how Bentley will sell any W12s now. Probably they know that the customers of the W12 are quite different than the V8 customers, right? Now with a much more efficient and faster engine, why do you still need to look over the W12? Anyway, I would individually acquire the GT V8 engine which at least makes you run 644 Km instead of 403 Km on the W12. In the Middle East, its price tag will be around 172,527 USD for the GT and the GTC around 189,780 USD. The difference between the W12 and V8 engines is approximately between 19,000 USD~21,000 USD.

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