Motor review - Bentley Continental GTC V8

PUBLISHED: 00:16 07 December 2013

LAN Dec Bentley Review

LAN Dec Bentley Review

Not Archant

Our man Syd Taylor drives the Bentley Continental GTC V8. We think he liked it

Beating the best in the world is the business of a Bentley - and nobody shows rivals the door with such beguiling condescension. Here is refinement, power and prestige epitomised in a rolling sculpture of electro-mechanical wizardry complemented by fixtures and fittings fit for a king or queen.

Here is a triumphant trailblazing convertible that rewards lucky owners in so many ways. It’s actually better than you could ever have imagined. No pen can do justice to its appearance and no poet could pitch his praise high enough to encompass its peerless momentum and sumptuous comfort. There’s nothing that’s not impressive, especially the £136,250 price tag.

So, once underway I began to unwind, to relax, to indulge in a little - I have to say - joie de vivre. There are few cars on the market that are both stunning to look at and drive - and now the Continental has been remarkably transformed by the installation of a new 500bhp, 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 that is a much more ‘sporty’ engine than the W12. Not only that, but its economy is an amazing 40pc better: more than 25 mpg is easily achieved. Gargantuan performance is about the same and near 190mph should be enough for anyone.

This new V8 version knocks all others into a cocked hat. It purrs, it rumbles, it roars and sounds amazing. When you want, the Continental accelerates like an F15 on re-heat. You’ll certainly leave your blues behind and the rest of the world will need to get up early to catch you in one of these.

A driving experience of this sort craves company, of course, and so many were eager to join me that I conducted an impromptu lottery. The lucky winner - Clarissa Maidenhead - purred like a kitten as she admired the Bentley. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘you certainly have the passenger to go with the car. Pity about the driver, though.’

To experience the amply luxurious cockpit and the inexhaustible power is to taste at the very highest motoring table indeed. It’s a car that is absurd in its contradictions: huge power yet great tranquility when required - all in a chassis that offers balance, poise and formidable grip thanks to permanent four-wheel-drive.

Fast bends reveal the sort of feel that builds confidence when pushing hard and the balance and coherence of the chassis is always subtle, soaking up every shock with impunity. It’s all so easy; so natural.

It is, of course, a convertible - but as you are aware, there’s more than one meaning to the term. This Bentley performs sheer alchemy, by invoking the magic of the flying carpet with a consumate synthesis of luxury, pace and dynamic ability.

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