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Automotive Fantasy: New Bentley Continental GT V8 S Pushes Power, Pulchritude PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Maynard, Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:06

Photo Credit Creative Syndicate

The new Volvo V60 drives more like a sport sedan than a wagon, but it's accommodating for cargo, too.

For anyone ready to spend a quarter-of-a-million dollars on a grand touring convertible, I would expect no buyer's remorse in bringing home the new Bentley Continental GT V8 S convertible.

The GT V8 S is a new model this year and adds horsepower, now at 521-horsepower, and some sporting hardware.

It joins the standard GT V8 (500-horsepower) and the mighty Continental GT 6.0 liter V12 (567-horsepower).

More performance is better in this segment of luxury grand touring cars, to a point. While the Continental GT V8 seems adequate, it just doesn't have the authoritative launch when compared to the new S model. And the pricing difference is just $13,100 for another 21-horsepower and a much younger attitude.

The 12-cylinder Continental convertible is more for the continental movers and sheikhs with its starting price of $224,425, plus whatever "bespoke" customizations or accessories are desired. It remains the best-selling Continental model. But even with four more cylinders it gets to 60 mph in the same time as the GT V8 S, 4.5 seconds.

In this segment of exotic grand-touring cars, the price justification may be in the brand's provenance and the car's styling, technologies and power. The V-8 adds a measure of fuel economy: 14 mpg city, 24 highway and 17 combined. I was averaging 13.5 to 19.8, while thoroughly enjoying the rush of power and the blare of the pipes.

The Continental is a pleasure zone in many areas, but the twin-turbocharged, directinjection 4.0-liter V-8 is a sweet spot. The eight-speed automatic elegantly delivers power to all wheels, and in Sport mode it cuts to the chase with a lusty bellow. Sport mode quickens the shifts and sharpens the responses. Big paddle shifters encourage manual shifts.

And the suspension supports energetic driving. This is a hefty car at 5,445 pounds and that weight is just briefly sensed as the suspension unloads and settles in tighter cornering maneuvers. As a "grand tourer" the ride is firm but without jiggle or jostle on the highway. There also is no unsettling head toss entering driveways or traversing speed bumps, which should be done at a crawl to prevent a dent to the underbody panels. The chin spoiler at the front fascia is also susceptible to scraping on inclined driveways.

In my days with the test car, three out of four women raved about the styling -- which is another reason, I expect, why men buy this car. The test car's "Ice" paint -- one of 79 optional colors with 17 no charge hues - is a glacial milk hue of pale blue. The "Hotspur" and "Beluga" (black with red trim) full leather is pleated, perforated, tucked and stitched for an artful presentation. The contemporary presentation is finished with piano black wood and 21-inch seven-spoke wheels, covering front brake discs that are nearly 16 inches across and with red, Bentleylogo calipers.

Other S differences include a lowered air suspension (by 10mm,) spring rates were raised, shocks retuned and a stiffer rear stabilizer bar. The electronic stability control program was relaxed to allow some wheel slip - in a highly controlled environment, of course.

Exterior modifications include a front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser. More than adding seriousness to the stance, Bentley insists the aero treatment reduces front-end lift and adds stability at high speed. Kingfisher Blue and Monaco Yellow are new colors.

If everyone could afford a $200,000 car, every driver would choose this type of quality and driving finesse. This isn't transportation, it's automotive fantasy.

Mark Maynard is online at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage

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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:11