Bentley Slows Down the Continental GT But Makes it Better

The new Bentley Continental GT V8 may not have the bragging right of the 200 mph crowd, but it’s still no slouch.

Bentley’s Continental GT has always been the minor-miracle of the supercar world — a wicked-fast machine that’s still somehow fabulously comfortable and luxurious, thanks in no small part to its outsized dimensions. The 626-hp, 12-cylinder version of the newly redesigned coupe is good for 207 mph and a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds and now the company has announced the V8 variant, which will get you to 60 mph a hair slower, at 3.9 seconds and a lower top speed of 198 mph. It may not have the bragging right of the 200 mph crowd, but it’s still no slouch.

The coupe and convertible V8 versions will be coming stateside before this fall—and actually ahead of the already debuted 12-cylinder model, due to certification timing. This is the third generation to feature the more fuel-efficient four-liter V8 variants. The new engine uses twin-scroll turbochargers nestled inside the “V” for tighter packaging of the engine. It features deactivation of four cylinders in gentle cruising to boost efficiency, and it offers start-stop technology to help that further along—though we’d certainly miss sitting at stop signs enjoying the burbling V8 exhaust.

The new car will have V8 badging and quad exhaust pipes to distinguish it from the W12-powered versions, along with assorted cosmetic tweaks all its own both inside and out, and the convertible will get the sped-up 19-second roof retraction and neck warmers that come with the 12-cylinder droptop. The V8’s carry some performance mods to suit the engine more appropriately, including an all-wheel-drive system biased toward efficiency-enhancing rear-drive, which will also boost its dynamic feel. Its suspension and damping control also have been tweaked to optimize the different weight and balance impact of the smaller engine.

Previous generations of the V8-powered Contis were frequently lauded as being in many ways preferred over the W12-powered monsters, and not just because of the fuel efficiency and lower cost. (Neither numbers have been announced yet.) They felt lighter and more responsive. We’ll be driving these new V8s over the summer, and will see if that remains true. As for coming to a scant two miles-per-hour shy of the magic bragging-right threshold of 200 mph — well, you’ll have to take that up with Bentley.

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