Despite having a rich history of creating comfortable cars for the chauffeured elite, Bentley has also had an edge on performance that its former compadres at Rolls-Royce could not come close to. Because while the Rollers may have been the better cars to be driven in (and some would argue, they still are), the Bentleys were better to drive. That's still true to this day, where the company, now situated under the umbrella of the Volkswagen Group, still offers all the same luxury and refinement as before, but it also includes even better drivability than before. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Continental range, where a full line of turbocharged 12-cylinder and Speed models are on offer, to say nothing of older Supersports models that were offered and the company's newest venture into the world of racing, the GT3. But below the Speed cars and the other W12 cruisers, Bentley now offers eight-cylinder power in its Continental range. And despite this more focused approach to offering something a bit more frugal and efficient, it still has quite the focus on driver involvement. We recently spent a week under the summer sun in this droptop V8 GTC to experience just that. Driving Notes In terms of fitting in with the lineup, the V8 model is a stealth addition to the Continental line. The whole package can still be customized to suit your wildest dreams, with nearly endless choices for colors and wheels available. Those with keen eyes will notice the red-painted badges and subtle tweaks to the car's design (eight-shaped exhaust outlets, darkened lower bumper and slight tim differences around the lower front fascia). But still, this thing slides under the radar as being nothing short of Bentley chic, and it's proof that the automaker is in no way punishing its owners for opting for the entry-level model. That V8's a real honey to use. Bentley employs a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter unit here, good for 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. Even in this hefty, 5,445-pound GTC, that's enough grunt to get the Big B up to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds, the eight-speed automatic transmission executing quick, effortless shifts. Putting the transmission in sport mode opens the V8's exhaust baffles, which is a nice treat – except when you're stopped at a light with the top down. The low-frequency resonance sounds for all the world like some twit in surrounding traffic has their subwoofers cranked. By the same token, when erected, the seven-layer top smothers the latter like a blanket, along with everything else – it also looks and feels properly rich. We're so glad Bentley didn't try to engineer a costly and heavy folding metal lid. Despite the weight, driving the GTC isn't like steering a ship. All parts of the driving experience are well-tuned for effortless cruising, with nicely weighted steering and adjustable suspension dampers that offer plenty of feedback for the driver without crushing that Bentley-spec smooth ride, even on large, …
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|MPG||11 City / 19 Hwy|
|Power||567 @ 6000 rpm|
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