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Review: Bentley Continental GT V8 S Coupe
Driven February 2014
If you are out in the market shopping for that exotic Rs 3 crore car, here are a few things you should know about Bentley’s new Continental GT V8 S. No, it is not the fastest V8 out there in the market. If you are looking some corner-thrashing track day car, sorry, the V8 S is nothing like that either. For a car with the latest techno-gadgetry, we suggest you stick to the fast German coupes.
So who exactly is Bentley meant for? Well, it’s for people who understand that this stately car is more about British craftsmanship than carving corners. But that doesn’t mean the Bentley is not fast.
With a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 making 521bhp and 680Nm of torque, the V8 S does 0-100kph in 4.5sec, while the top speed is electronically limited to 309kph. Again, not the fastest in its segment, but when you consider the close to 2.3 tonne that it tips the scale at, the numbers feel quite impressive.
It’s no less than an engineering marvel how well the Bentley handles that weight around corners. Surely to make the V8 S move like a ballerina, the guys at Crewe have lowered the suspension and stiffened the anti-roll bars. But with all that weight that it has to lug around, you can feel the traction control and the all-wheel-drive system working overtime to help the V8 S maintain course.
The Bentley is a highway cruiser, and I am pretty sure Bentley owners will agree that they would rather drive the car on the weekend out of town rather than on a depressing Monday trip to office.
Out in the open, the V8 sounds lovely. If you want some more vocal feedback from those exhaust pipes, slip the gear leaver into S mode. The 8-speed transmission selects shorter ratios and the bark of the engine get a bit more aggressive. Not too aggressive though; this is British luxury we are talking about.
Inside the V8 S is a nice place to be, with one of the finest hides tastefully blended with piano black veneer. The car that I am in gets contrast red stitching all over to match the exterior body colour. While the chunky gear lever feels great, I somehow did not like the paddle shifts that feel too cumbersome to operate during spirited driving.
Differentiating the V8 S from the regular V8 can be tricky and you might have to look close. Like those blacked-out wing mirrors, side skirts and the rear diffuser. All giving you hints that this Bentley is a little extra special. Sure, there is also a V8 S emblem slapped on the front fender if you missed the subtle details.
Coming back to where we started, sure the Bentley Continental GT V8 S cannot carve corners or be as fast as some other exotics out there. But then again, there is one thing that the Bentley has that you will surely appreciate. It is accommodating. What do I mean by that?
With most supercars there is always a compromise you make, with the seating, creature comforts and most obviously the driving style. Once you are in the V8 S, you are transported to a different world. There is plush leather and other creature comforts that will make matters like cornering and being the fastest car the last of your concern.
8cyl, 3,993cc twin-turbo, 521bhp@6000rpm, 680Nm@1700rpm, 8-speed automatic, 0-100kph: 4.5sec, Top-speed: 309kph, Mileage: 6.5kpl, Rs 1.43 crore (import duty not included)
Hits the sweet spot in the Continental GT range. Sportier than your average V8, but still not as expensive as the W12. For people who are looking for an involving drive without compromising on creature comforts.