There are plenty of clues. A bright chrome grille, aggressive lower bumper with three air-intakes, a dark rear valance with its signature figure of eight tailpipes, and a red enamel winged B all tell you this is the Bentley Continental GT V8, powered by a 4.0-litre V8 engine. The sound is just as different. At idle it has a low throb while under hard acceleration it produces a glorious snarl. This is an involving, exciting route into Bentley Continental ownership that clearly demonstrates the balance between total refinement and full-blooded sporting performance.
The core difference with the Bentley Continental GT V8 is the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8. This engine produces a massive 487lbs/ft of torque at 1,700rpm and 500bhp, which means 0-60 takes just 4.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 190mph is delivered. Muscular and sharp, the Bentley Continental GT V8’s perfectly judged lines use some serious technology in addition to traditional handcrafting. The knife-edge lines that run down each front wing are created using superforming, where 5,083-grade aluminium is heated to 500 degrees Celsius and shaped around a dye using air pressure. Low, wide and purposeful, the Bentley Continental GT V8 draws inspiration from great Bentley grand-tourers of the past, but it’s pure 21st century where it counts. The interior uses the finest wood, leather and knurled metal, but in a simple, bold way. Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus wood veneer has a pure, straight-grained appearance, and leather is offered in a small selection of single colours: Beluga, Newmarket Tan, Porpoise or Imperial Blue. It’s single minded, sporty and unique.