[dropcap size=small]B[/dropcap]entley’s third-generation Continental GT was recently unveiled with a massive 6-litre 12-cylinder engine.

The car on this page is the 4-litre V8 variant, turbocharged to produce 542bhp and 770Nm of twisting force. While nowhere near the figures of its W12 twin (635hp and 900Nm), the downsized model still manages to impress with its performance.

It completes the century sprint in 4 seconds and hits a top speed of 318kmh. Astonishing for any car, but mind-boggling for a huge Grand Tourer.

The W12 does a 3.7-second dash to 100kmh and attains a peak velocity of 333kmh.

The V8 car is 50kg or 2.2 per cent lighter than the W12 variant. This helps narrow a performance deficit which would have been somewhat bigger otherwise.

Bentley Continental GT V8
The Bentley Continental GT’s 4-litre V8 variant impresses, completing the century sprint in 4 seconds and hitting a top speed of 318kmh.

Like the W12, the V8 comes with cylinder deactivation. Under light load conditions, four cylinders shut down for better fuel economy.

The switch to and fro is done seamlessly, without a hint of vibration.

Just as faultless is the car’s dual-clutch eight-speed gearbox, also found in the bigger car.

Shifts are swift and seamless, allowing me to overtake several cars at one go on the highway – regardless of the drive mode the car was in.

Four driving modes are available, but my favourite is “B” (for Bentley) mode. In this mode, the car settles well over broken bitumen and it is the most satisfying mode all round.

Around curvy sections, the Continental GT responds well to steering inputs.

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Its roadholding is superb, thanks to all-wheel-drive and grippy 20-inch Pirelli P Zero tyres.

A well-weighted steering contributes to driver confidence, corner after corner.

Design-wise, the V8 resembles the range-topping W12, barring differences in the exhaust pipes and subtle V8 monikers.

Differences in the cabin are subtle too. Indeed, for the well-heeled, the compromise one would expect of a downsized product is negligible.


Bentley Continental GT V8

Price: To be announced

Engine: 3,996cc 32-valve V8 twin-turbocharged

Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch with paddle shift

Power: 542bhp at 5,750rpm

Torque: 770Nm at 1,960-4,500rpm

0-100kmh: 4 seconds

Top speed: 318kmh

Fuel consumption: 11.2 litres/100km

Agent: Wearnes Automotive

(RELATED: Object of desire: Bentley Continental GT Number 9 edition by Mulliner)

This article was originally published in The Straits Times.

Photos: Bentley Motor Cars