Review: New Bentley Continental GTC V8By Chris Walsh
January 15, 2013
Unveiled at the North American International Motor Show in Detroit last January, the new 4.0-litre, twin turbocharged V8 Continental GTC promised to deliver an exceptional standard of power-to-emissions for such a high-end luxury sports car.
To do this, the new V8 muscle features variable displacement - a highly sophisticated engine management system shuts down unused cylinders to seamlessly change your snarling V8 to an almost practical V4 and back again.
The new V8 also features high-pressure direct injection, low friction bearings, thermal management and all the usual energy recuperation systems to go even better.
This helps Bentleys to achieve their environmental commitment of producing a new powertrain that delivers improved economy, exhilarating performance and effortless power alongside all their usual traditions.
Combine these changes with a close-ratio 8-speed automatic transmission and you get a car that can smash a sub-5 second 0-60mph sprint, achieve a top speed of over 180mph and have an official co2 emission figure of just 254g/km, which is really rather impressive for a car still weighs the same as a small bungalow.
These improvements allow Bentley to promote the seemingly impossible statistic that the new Continental is a whopping 40% more efficient than the outgoing model. And it is. But when you consider that the previous model was fitted with a massive 6-litre, W16 monster under the hood, you begin to see why this version is more Prius-like than Panzer.
Although the emissions are low for such a big, powerful car the fuel economy still drops through the floor when you put your foot anywhere near the accelerator, which is such a shame considering that it goes (and sounds) like nothing else.
But, when you do get the chance to floor it, an exceptionally calm and controlled form of progress replaces the expected shove in the back and a beautifully layered exhaust note that goes from a satisfyingly deep V8 warble to a mechanically enhanced V8 bellow accompanies it.
All the usual levels of opulence are present, including a typically bewildering selection of descriptions: Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneer anyone?
Beyond this, the GTC is distinguished by a tidy set of visual tweeks.
A black gloss grille with chrome frame and centre bar, a red enamel Bentley ‘B’ badge and a black three-segment lower front bumper tell onlookers what this car is.
At the rear, unique chromed ‘figure eight’ exhaust, a lowered valance and another strategic red enamel ‘B’ bootlid badge emphasise the identity of the new V8 further.
Model: Bentley Continental V8 GTC
Price From: £135,000
0-60: 4.7 seconds
CO2 emission: 254g/km
2010/2011 VED: £460pa (1st Year £815)