Out with the old and in with the new. That’s the method Bentley has used to reduce fuel consumption by 40 per cent and improve the agility and handling of the Bentley Continental GTC V8.
Bentley has introduced a new V8, which replaces GTC’s bigger W12 engine with a smaller V8 and the results are nothing short of amazing.
It has to be said, the most impressive trait of the new V8 is the engine note – it sounds incredible. The V8’s bellow easily outdoes the stifling W12’s engine note with a menacing burble at low speeds, rising to a muscle-car roar at high revs.
With the three-layered canvas roof in place, the V8’s engine note is still audible, but subdued when the throttle isn’t being pounded. Just the way a grand tourer should be.
Taking around 25 seconds to lower, the roof can be operated at speeds of up to 30km/h and with the roof down, there’s no way you could recommend the W12 convertible over the Continental GTC V8 based on the engine note alone. But, the benefits of the V8 don’t just stop there.
A new eight-speed automatic gearbox, direct injection and four cylinders less go a long way to ensure the Bentley Continental’s fuel consumption drops from 16.6L/100km in the W12 to 10.9L/100km in the new V8.
The new eight-speed automatic gearbox works a charm, but the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters can be a bit cumbersome during hard cornering.
The interior features four seats, but don’t expect to stretch out in the rear seats. Some of the finer interior touches include satellite radio, a Breitling clock and high-quality, hand built components. The smell of luxury cow hide comes standard.
Cylinder deactivation technology shuts down four of the eight cylinders under light throttle in a bid to further reduce fuel consumption. It’s similar to the technology seen in the 6.75-litre V8 Bentley Mulsanne.
Luckily, efficiency hasn’t come at the cost of performance. Bury the throttle and the Continental GTC proceeds through warp speed at a pace not dissimilar to the W12 Continental GTC. In a straight line drag race, the Bentley Continental GTC V8 loses out to its W12 Continental sibling by just two-tenths of a second.
The V8 sprints from 0-100km/h in 5.0-seconds, while the W12 takes a fraction less at 4.8-seconds. Both figures are very impressive for the portly 2.5-tonne Continental GTC.
The twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 produces 373kW and 660Nm of torque, just short of the W12’s 432kW and 700Nm of torque. The V8’s maximum torque arrives at just 1,700rpm, so the car is happy to cruise along in top-gear without the need for a cog change.
It’s needless to say that cutting the Bentley Continental GTC’s fuel consumption by 40 per cent is an astonishing achievement. What’s even more impressive is that the Continental GTC V8 is virtually on par with the W12 when it comes to performance, grip and control.
Competitors at this price point include the nimble Ferrari California, the loud Jaguar XKR-S Convertible, Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster and Lamborghini Gallardo.
Priced from $370,000 for the two-door Continental V8, the convertible Continental GTC V8 starts at $407,000. The Continental W12 is available from $408,870 and moves on to $449,500 for its drop-top sibling.
Even though the light steering needs a bit more feel, it’s evident that the V8 is cheaper and better than the W12. Now, the only choice is whether you want driving dynamics of the roof or the aural drama of the soft-top.