You Can Have Another V8

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The breakfast-cereal industry provides the go-to case study for employing brand proliferation as a barrier to entry. Each of the leading companies offers a wide variety of nutritious flakes, sugary spheres, and even sweeter squares to satisfy every palate and thus make it difficult for additional competitors to get into the market. In a similar fashion, Bentley is eliminating reasons for its grand-tourer customers to consider GTs from other brands. With the arrival this spring of the Continental GT V8 S, Bentley now offers eight Continental GT variants (including convertibles), which should be enough to suit the taste of any current or prospective owner.

“The new V8 S is intended for a more youthful and extroverted client, to whom we wanted to offer some additional choice,” says Paul Jones, Bentley’s director of product management and product line for the Continental GTs and the Flying Spur.

The V8 S joins a Continental lineup that already includes the 12-cylinder GT and GT Speed and the 8-cylinder GT V8. The GT Speed is a faster (thus the name) and more powerful version of the GT, which has been in production now for 11 years and was the first new model that Bentley produced under Volkswagen’s ownership. The GT V8, which debuted two years ago and was widely praised by Robb Report’s Car of the Year judges at the 2013 competition, is a lighter, sportier version of the GT. It could be considered the entry-level Bentley, because according to Jones, about half of the current V8 owners are new to the Bentley brand.

If there was a niche between the GT Speed and GT V8, the GT V8 S has filled it. The new car does not match the power and pace of the GT Speed, but it has more muscle than the GT V8, is slightly quicker, and handles better.