Bentley Continental GT V8 2020 Review
Bentley enjoyed great success with its first
Continental GT which, with a rather gentle mid-life facelift, spanned 15 years.
The new model, first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017, transformed the
appearance of this fine grand tourer. And now, alongside the mighty six-litre
W12 engine, is the eagerly-awaited four-litre V8. The V8 transformed the first
generation cars; time to see if it can still work its magic in the new model.
Visuals & exterior
Perhaps the most dramatic area of change in the
latest Continental GT is the exterior. Lower and wider-looking with a
broader-face, it hunkers down on the road and its curves seem to flow more
fluidly along the car’s length, especially over the rear arches. The whole
shape has evolved from upright to sleek and it works well.
Interior design & features
Inside, the new coupé has a far more coherent
and contemporary facia design. I have always found Bentley interiors pleasing,
from the winged ‘B’ badging to the knurled knobs and switches. There’s nothing
fiddly or flimsy; the controls have a pleasing weight and substance. The
sizeable fascia means there’s no overcrowding of the instruments and switches;
it all adds up to create a restful space. And if the modern infotainment screen
is too much, at the press of a button it revolves - James Bond style - replaced
by three elegant dials, a nod to simpler times.
The cabin is beautifully crafted. Leather is
finished in Italy and the veneers are polished to a deep sheen. Seating is
fabulously designed for comfort - perfect for the long haul to the south of
On the move
Driving the Continental GT is a pleasure.
There’s a reassuring thickness to the steering wheel and it’s a satisfying
forward view over the clean, digital dials. All-wheel-drive allows the
application of the car’s 770Nm of torque without fuss - even on the wet
Cheshire roads of our test - and the twin turbocharging ensures there is plenty
of shove from low revs, exactly what’s needed for a relaxed tourer. Even in the
poor weather, there is no drama; the Continental GT manages to cocoon and
cosset, exactly as you would expect.
Under the bonnet
Is the V8 any lesser an engine than the mighty
W12? There are some who perhaps crave the opulence or the distinctive sound of
those extra four cylinders. None of that actually matters for me: I have always
considered the V8 to be the superior engine. Sure, there’s 0.3 extra seconds in
the 0-62mph sprint but unless you have a drag race with another Continental GT
- how vulgar! - you’d never know. Both arrive at 62mph in less than four
seconds. The V8 also feels more agile, seemingly revving a little more freely.
It is still wonderfully sonorous, just different to the W12.
And as a grand tourer, the V8 continues to make
sense. It’s not about the economics of fuel costs, nor even the environmental
considerations (although perhaps it should be). Delivering mpg in the 20s
rather than the teens means less time spent at filling stations which is a
bonus when crossing continents.
The Continental has taken a significant yet
careful leap forward and remains at the top of the GT game. And the V8 is the
engine to pick. A little bling, a spadeful of presence and 2.2 tonnes of
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter