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Driven: Bentley Continental GTC V8

The Bentley Continental name has been with us since 1952, making it one of the most oldest names still in production. However, five decades later, Bentley decided to make a complete change to the cars’ design. In 2003, the Bentley Continental GT made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, giving the world a sip of what Bentley is capable of under Volkswagen AG’s control.

The first Continental GT featured a 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine which produced 552 bhp and 650 Nm torque. The Bentley Continental GT left a statement on every road it traveled on, whether it would be twisty roads or mile straights, it was hard to outrun such a car. A GTC (convertible) version soon followed.

However there were some downsides, especially fuel economy. The W12 could only ever achieve a claimed figure of 17 mpg which meant you were fueling up more than actually enjoying the cars raw power on the road. So, this begs a question, has Bentley given consumers a more fuel efficient option? Well, the answer is yes!

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PERFORMANCE

 The brand-new Bentley Continental GTC V8 features a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged engine which produces 500 bhp and an astonishing 660 Nm torque. With all that power at the drivers disposal, the GTC V8 can hit 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, making it one of the fastest accelerating 4 seater convertible money can buy. Keep your foot down long enough and the GTC V8 will hit 188 MPH.

All of this brute force is bolted and sustained by an eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the six-speed in the W12. The ratios are also close together to give you the smoothest gear changes possible thus increasing fuel economy.

Bentley hasn’t just opted for a V8 in the chase of power, they’ve also thought about handling. The front wheels are carrying 25kg less than they do on its W12 counterpart, but the suspension rates have been revamped and geometry have been re-calibrated giving it an advantage over the W12.

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Compared to the W12, the V8 turns in that slight bit better into corners and it also grips well while negotiating tight bends, especially with the adaptive dampers helping you stay flat throughout corners. Amazingly, with all these ways to keep the car perfect around corners, it still retains being an absolutely comfortable long-distance cruiser.

What puts the Continental GTC V8 aside from the GT V8 is when you get on a nice straight road. There are just two steps here, the first is to simply ensure you have the roof down and the second is to absolutely floor the throttle. So, what happens? Well, at very low revs, you hear an amazing V8 burble which drops your jaw and at high revs you’re left absolutely speechless, you’d just want to do it over and over again!

Bentley has been thoughtful with the V8, even with fuel economy. The GTC V8 achieves a very modest 25.9 mpg which is not bad at all. It’s achieved through direct injection, an alternator programmed to charge the battery mainly during deceleration and a very cool bit of kit which shuts down 4 of the cars’ cylinders whilst cruising. Boot the throttle, and you have a V8, waft around town, and you have a V4.

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EXTERIOR

Compared to its predecessor, the new Bentley Continental GTC has a much more fluid design. It mixes a blend of Sportiness, Elegance and Beauty. The new GTC features beautifully sculptured curves which are only seen on the most beautiful of women, lines that are designed to cut through the air efficiently and low sporty looks designed to turn heads.

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At the touch of a button, the roof will go down, giving you a full view of that beautiful interior contrasted with the Bentleys’ pretty exterior. They both sing in perfect harmony.

It’s a very positive improvement over the previous Continental, which definitely makes the new Continental stand out over other cars on the market.

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INTERIOR

Describing the interior of a Bentley is just impossible. Words cannot defy the amount of luxury and quality that goes into a Bentley’s interior. In the case of this Continental GTC, saying it’s a luxury place to be just doesn’t do it justice.

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The seats are wrapped in sumptuous leather and beautifully quilted. The stitching is so detailed, it stands out from a mile back. No matter what your occupation or financial status, as soon as you sit inside the Continental GTC, you feel special instantaneously. The seats sink you in, whatever you touch feels absolutely lovely to hold and you’re forever rubbing the seats to how smooth they are.

At the end of the day, its expected, Bentley are experts in interior quality, and the GTC is no exception.

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VERDICT

Do we love the Bentley Continental GTC V8? Of course we do! It’s a must have if you can afford it, we really believe it blends two worlds into one package, the first being supercar potential and the other being a luxury comfortable long-distance cruiser. We love its V8 engine which roars when you want it to, then it can shut off while cruising so you get your typical Bentley quiet drive. The power delivery is sweet and handling is surprisingly good. We really believe that Bentley are getting somewhere in terms of performance and handling. Fuel economy has finally been sorted out too which is a great thing to know!

The only thing we think Bentley could improve on is their steering, the GTC V8′s steering was quite light and it doesn’t make you feel connected enough with the road. The upside is however that at the end of the day, the Bentley Continental is a long distance cruiser, it’s not at all a track ripping item. Around town it’s absolutely wonderful to drive, the light steering which initially made you feel disconnected from the road finally makes sense, it’s light so you can easily mooch around whenever you need to, but the most amazing thing we find about the Bentley is how easy it is to drive! Overall, a great package Bentley has offered.

Bentley Continental GTC V8 – 4.5/5.