Motoring | Test Drives

wheels of the year 2012: Best GT Continental V8

When it comes to Bentleys, more is always, well, more. Except when it’s not, as the smaller entry-level V8 Continental GTC proves to be the pick of the range

  • By Dejan Jovanovic,
  • Published: 11:28 January 3, 2013
  • Wheels

GT Continental V8
  • Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/ANM
  • Its sylphlike curves are stylishly highlighted by darker tones.

Most Bentley buyers crave a W12 engine, because they got to where they are in life thanks to more, more, more…

I find the 2.5-tonne Bentley Continental GTC W12 to pull like a nitroglycerine-fuelled tractor, but corner much like one, too. The positively bulimic 2.3-tonne V8-engined GTC, then, feels like you’ve hopped on to the back of a ballerina after riding an elephant.

That is why no matter how much you want your neighbours to envy your top-of-the-line Bentley W12, you just have to get the V8, with its rabid power delivery and almost nothing lost in the way of performance.

Let’s see, 567bhp versus 500bhp, and 700Nm versus 660Nm of torque, plus that weight disadvantage in the W12, means that the W12 is just two-tenths quicker from rest to 100kph, and 11kph stronger at the top end, with the V8 managing 303kph.

This will only be heartbreaking on those very rare occasions when you’re cruising on Emirates Road at 303kph and a W12 creeps past you doing 314kph. Just avoid eye contact...

For all other times, the V8 is mesmerisingly good. It even sounds as good as the W12, with a deep thrum and pleasing overrun gurgle. You imagine the Continental GTC is always gurgling something vintage — I hear 1997 was a good year.

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Its sylphlike curves are stylishly highlighted by darker tones, and you’ll be discovering subtle Crewe details months into ownership. Sure, the centre stack in the dashboard is out of a Skoda, but everything else is deep shag carpeting, great sound deadening isolating you from the plebeians outside, and serene comfort.

That is, until the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre engine comes on song again somewhere around 6,000rpm, asking for more, more, more…

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