A luxury grand tourer needs to be a car that can shuttle passengers in absolute comfort all the way across the continent. By name alone, the Bentley Continental GT should be up to the task. I had the opportunity to sample their latest version: the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S, at Columbus Bentley. After my time behind the wheel, I’m willing to admit that it might be the best grand tourer on the market.
This car won’t get you unnecessary attention everywhere you drive. Absolutely stunning in person, my Bentley was bathed in a blue called Kingfisher. Even so, I can drive down the expressway and not have people risking death trying to take a picture of my car.
Unassuming around town, it whispers through neighborhoods. The 4.0L twin turbo with the sports exhaust nicely burbles while cruising along, but won’t alert the local constabulary to your presence. This car will grocery shop as effectively as it eats miles on the highway.
When you don’t want to be subtle, the Continental GT complies. Pressing the throttle in sport mode opens up the rear exhaust to let the engine sing. Normally completely silent in the cabin, the 4.0L 521 bhp V8 roars to life inside the cabin reminding you you’re driving something special.
Carbon fiber trim lined the cabin, and the contrast blue leather stitching made it feel sporty. The Breitling clock and the organ pulls for the vents are Bentley throwbacks, but the advanced infotainment system and controls for the radar cruise control remind you that they exist for heritage.
The twin turbo V8 makes 521 bhp and 502 lbs/ft of torque. That power transfers to the wheels through an all-wheel drive system that continuously sends 60% of the power to the rear wheels. An 8-speed automatic transmission handles shifting. This transmission also appears in Jaguar and Land Rover products, and performs flawlessly.
A variation of the MMI system in the Audi A8, the Bentley infotainment system features some improvements. Being able to use it as a touch screen makes navigating simple, and having Google Maps on board gives you confidence in the directions.
Sublime describes the feeling of driving the car along in comfort mode. Road noise doesn’t exist, and bumps are super smooth. However, the car doesn’t feel soft and floaty. Soft suspension doesn’t mean the car has to feel like a boat when driving. In sport mode, everything tightens up and the suspension stiffens up. Noticeable in the change from comfort to sport, I sadly was unable to test sport mode on a twisty back road.
The engine smoothly moves the 5060 lbs Bentley along. It does not feel like the engine runs off something as dirty as gasoline. I would try the W12 in the Continental GT Speed before making a purchase decision to see if I needed the extra power.
The Bentley Continental GT V8 S competes with cars like the Aston Martin DB9 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe. All three are capable of completing a transcontinental journey in comfort. The Bentley does it without drawing too much attention to itself with a level of comfort that the Mercedes can’t deliver. At almost $100,000 more than the S-Class, the Bentley offers Aston Martin exclusivity with more advanced technology.
|Motor Review Fast Facts:|
|Trim Package:||V8 S|
|Fuel Economy:||15 city / 24 highway / 18 combined|
|Engine:||5.0L V8 Twin Turbo|
|Horsepower and Torque:||521hp and 502lbs/ft|
|Price as Tested:||$235,695 (does not include delivery or Gas Guzzler Tax)|
|Pros:||Discreet, Comfortable, Fast|
|Cons:||Weight. W12 Versions Looks Almost Identical.|
|Final Thoughts:||The best luxury grand tourer for people who don’t want to show off.|
|Vehicle provided by Trey at Columbus Bentley for review.|