Bentley Continental GT adds V-8 engine, loses none of the charm

by admin March 19, 2019 at 3:25 am

Bentley Continental GT buyers can now have their opulent coupe with four fewer cylinders.

On Monday, the British luxury automaker revealed the new Continental GT V8 and GT Convertible V8, which gives potential owners a (relatively) more fuel-efficient option compared to the burly 6.0-liter V-12 engine.

In this case, Bentley pegs the V-8 as the mile-chewing, grand-touring option for the Continental GT and drivers may chew up to 500 miles on a tank. A stop/start system conserves fuel at stops, and the engine can deactivate four cylinders when the full potential of the V-8 isn’t required.

 

Bentley Continental GT V8

Bentley Continental GT V8

Performance in the V-8 falls compared to the V-12, but it’s still plenty of oomph for the luxurious grand tourer. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine makes 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, compared to 626 hp and 664 lb-ft in the V-12 version. The V-8 GT coupe will sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the V-8, compared to 3.6 seconds with the V-12. Power is shuffled through an 8-speed automatic and sent to all four wheels via a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system.

Bentley said drivers will note a “characterful” burble from the V-8 engine not found with the V-12—it’s hard to call the V-8 a penalty box.

Underneath the swanky looks sits an air suspension that drivers can control via various selectable modes. “Sport” mode will keep things stiff, while other options bring out a limo-like ride from the Continental GT V-8. Continuous dampers also ensure the driver’s settings work in harmony.

Aside from the V-8 engine under the hood, not much else distinguishes the car from its V-12-powered siblings. The newest Continental GT sports “V-8” badges, and both the GT coupe and GT Convertible receive 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels. The good looks cribbed from the EXP 10 Speed 6 aren’t watered down in the V-8 version, and the convertible’s top is a tailored, available in seven fabrics including tweed, and pops up or down in 19 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. Convertible models also get a new neckwarmer integrated into the seats.

 

Bentley Continental GT V8

Bentley Continental GT V8

Cars outside of the U.S. also gain LED matrix headlights, which aren’t yet approved for use in the States.

Inside, the V-8 models share their appointments with V-12 cars, which is to say, they’re decadent. The signature trick from the V-12 shows up in the V-8, too: a rotating three-piece center display that toggles between analog dials, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, or an uncluttered finish.

If you must ask, the V-8-powered Continental GT coupe costs $198,500 and the convertible costs $218,350, excluding destination and gas guzzler taxes. The price predictably rockets up from there, and may we suggest the 20-speaker Naim audio system that costs more than we’ll make this year? Excellent.

The U.S. will see the first V-8 powered Continental GT models reach dealers sometime this summer, while the rest of the world waits until early 2020.

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