Just before Christmas I chauffeured the in-laws around Abu Dhabi in the superb new Bentley Flying Spur.
Not surprisingly, they loved it as they cruised the capital in the lap of luxury for a couple of days before reality kicked in, it had to go back to the showroom, and they had to slum it in my normal car.
I enjoyed driving the Flying Spur but I was more than happy to ditch the chauffeur’s job and climb into another Bentley where the emphasis is on the driver and not pampered back seat passengers.
The Continental GT V8 is Bentley’s entry model and although it might not be in the same class as its bigger and grander brothers it’s got the same breeding and it’s not afraid to shout about it in a posh sort of way.
I love this car because it’s engaging and fun to drive.
It’s a sort By Steve McKenlay of adolescent upstart of the family which although isn’t as powerful as its more grown up stablemates with enormous W12 engines it has enough clout to impress.
I was particularly looking forward to trying out the convertible model if only to discover what the audio from the delicious V8 sounds like with the roof down.
Thankfully, you are never going to get a Bentley that wails like a demented banshee but nevertheless the 4.0 litre twin turbo makes a very satisfying baritone growl the moment you push the starter button.
This combination of high-end luxury and a V8 with 500bhp and torque of 660nm which is available across almost the entire rev range, makes this all-wheel drive Bentley a pleasure to drive.
It has a close-ratio eight-speed automatic gearbox which works effortlessly as the car glides from 0-100kmh in a not too shabby five seconds, all the way to a top speed of 301kmh.
It also has the handling to match its power and you can push this two-ton beast into corners at reasonable speed without any problem at all with its finely balanced and stiff chassis.
You will eventually find some understeer but only if you venture into territory reserved for lunatic drivers.
One of the reasons why the Continental GT V8 is proving so popular is that you can travel more than 800km on one tank of fuel.
Yes, I know fuel is as cheap as chips in this part of the world but nevertheless it beats having to keep stopping to feed a petrol guzzling W12 engine.
Although it’s not what you would call a small car it feels extremely compact when you are in it.
The interior has the opulence you find in all Bentleys with the best possible hand-stitched leathers, wood veneers, and polished metals and bespoke options.
And although it oozes tradition, as all Bentleys do, the infotainment system is, as you would expect, state-of-the-art.
It is an exaggeration to call this a four seater as it is a two-door coupe and there is not much room in the back, although the aforementioned in-laws, determined to squeeze every ounce of pleasure out of a second Bentley experience, managed to prise themselves in without too much bother.
To look at, the GTC is an extremely handsome car, both with the roof up and down, with its deep black gloss matrix grille and red enamel Bentley B Badge.
The V8 also has unique figure of eight exhaust pipes and the red badge on the bootlid.
It sits on standard 20inch alloy wheels or you can take the optional 21-inch six-spoke design which add to the sporty look.
This Bentley offers performance, prestige, pretty good value for a car in this segment at Dh849,000, and of course that glorious noise from that V8 which as I suspected sounds even more divine with the top down.
It’s a class act.
Why Buy It
Bentley Continental GTC V8 – Specifications
Manufacturer : Bentley
Production : 2012 to present
Class : Convertible GT
Body style : Four-seater
Layout : All-wheel drive
Engine : 4.0 litre twin turbo
Output : 500bhp
Torque : 660nm
Transmission : 8-speed automatic with paddle shifts
0-100km : 5 seconds
Kerb weight : 2470kg
Top speed : 301kmh
Price : Dh849,000
Rating out of ten: 9.5
Here is the official Bentley Continental GTC V8 advert
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