Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Bentley Continental GT V8. Or as it should probably be known, The One To Have.
As much as we love the vast, powerful and unique W12, the previous-gen Continental GT was always better in V8 form, and we’re fully expecting that to be the case this time around. The new V8 will be much more economical, have a better weight distribution, and our understanding is it’ll be about 70kg lighter. That’s roughly the weight of me, now dispensed from the front axle.
It’s not like you’re even losing that much in the way of performance. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo engine under the bonnet serves up 542bhp and 568lb ft of torque - sent through an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox - giving a 0-62mph time of four seconds dead in the coupe. That’s just two tenths off the W12. Granted, it can’t top 200mph as the 12-cylinder version can, but 198mph is close enough, isn’t it?
Like its bigger brother, the GT V8 has a trick three-chamber air suspension system, but on this ‘lesser’ Continental, the clever active-anti-roll bars become an optional extra, as opposed to standard-fit equipment. Neglect to spec them, you’ll have to make do with a more conventional set of hollow bars.
It’ll be available as either a coupe or a cabriolet from the off, the W12 Continental GT Convertible having been launched very recently. Go for the drop-top version, and you’ll have a folding soft top roof which can be raised or lowered in around 19 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph.
The cabin is just as luxurious as the W12’s, liberally coated in the finest quilted leather you’ll probably ever lay hands on. Multiple colour options and a wide range of ultra-posh wood veneers are available. The focal point of the interior is the fabulous Toblerone-shaped rotating display (an optional extra, but a must-have one), which can either show a 12.3-inch touchscreen, a trio of analogue dials, or simply the fancy veneer you chose.
It’s available to order now only in North America, with the first US deliveries taking place in the third quarter of 2019. Order books for other markets will open at some point in the first half of 2020.