Bentley recently brought a new flavor of the Continental GT to the table: the Continental GTC V8. This entry level offering isn’t powered by a W12 but a 500hp, twin-turbo V8 (the same 4.0L V8 found in the new Audi S8). We go all the way to Nashville to check it out. While some may argue the entry level version is for those who can’t get the “real” version, this one is different. Take one look at the car and you’d never know it’s a base version. The car starts at $191,400 and the one we looked at featured pricey options including the Mulliner Driving Specification, a $14,555 option which includes those beautiful 21-inch 7-spoke wheels and an array of aesthetic goodies such as a jewel fuel filler cap, two-tone leather interior with wood accents, among other things bringing the total cost of it to just under $215,000. Still sound like a base model? Hardly.
While it does produce 67 less horsepower, it is also lighter and more fuel efficient. Factor in cylinder deactivation where the car will cruise as a four cylinder and achieve 14/24 mpg which isn’t exactly eco-box numbers.
The V8 simply sounds like it has more grunt than the W12. In comparison, the V8 produces the sounds a touring car should whereas the W12 sounds like a UPS truck. That alone makes this new V8 a winner in my book. Less weight and the V8 make it feel a little more performance oriented. It still weighs more than your house, but the 500hp V8 still manages to propel its 5,546lb mass to a 0-60mph time in 4.2 seconds*; that’s faster than the W12 coupe’s time by 0.2 seconds which happens to weigh 300lbs less. Delivering that power to the wheels is an 8spd automatic which is silky smooth and shows off the point of owning a Bentley, classy and smooth.
The car looks stunning all around. The steel blue paint called “Thunder” looks the part on this ocean liner and if you are after a luxurious convertible then this is the car for you. If it is a performance GT car you are after look elsewhere. While the car is definitely no slouch it simply can’t match that of an Aston Martin AM310 Vanquish or for price the new BMW M6 Convertible, but then again that isn’t the point of owning a Bentley is it?
Photography by the Author
Car provided by Bentley of Nashville
*Performance figures courtesy of Car and Driver