Bigger is better is an axiom that holds true for many things, but sometimes less is more. Take the Bentley Continental GT and the GT Convertible. The latest refresh of the iconic Conti was a supremely handsome one, and the new sleek lines give the coupe a serious presence. And the twin-turbo W-12 under that elongated hood gives it some serious punch, with 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque on tap. But maybe you want a little less engine? Good news: meet the V-8 Continental GT and GT Convertible.
If you’re reading that and wondering who on earth would want less engine, you’re likely not alone, but hear us out. The twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that the crew at Crewe is outfitting the V-8 Bentleys with is a glorious beating heart, good for 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of yank. That’s pushed to all four wheels via an eight speed automatic transmission and propels the GT coupe to 60 in shave under 4 seconds, while the GT cabriolet is a tenth of a second behind. That’s not too far off the W-12 variant, so yes, you’re sacrificing a bit of power, but really, you won’t notice the delta when you mash the drilled aluminum gas pedal into the plush carpeting. It’s still a Bentley, which means it pulls like a freight train and doesn’t let up until you do.
Because the V-8 is smaller and lighter than the W-12, it’ll handle a bit better, too. While we adore the Conti W-12, the V-8 is a mite more engaging to drive because it moves through corners a skosh easier. Hollow, lightweight anti-roll bars come standard, though the Bentley Dynamic Ride System that’s standard on the W-12 is available here as a check-box option.
It should also be a little more wallet-friendly at the pump, as it features the same cylinder deactivation that the W-12 enjoys, and most of the time it’s only using rear-wheel drive. A new exhaust note for the V-8 means it may sound a little more throaty and alluring than the W-12.
Visually, you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish a V-8 from the W-12. Small V-8 badges on the front wings, and quad-pipe exhausts in lieu of dual-exit pipes are the only telltale signs. Bentley V-8s used to feature a red “B” in the emblems, but that doesn’t look to have carried over here. Pricing has yet to be announced, but you can order one in the U.S. now, and it’ll show up in the third quarter of this year, while the rest of the globe will have to wait for a 2020 delivery.