Currently reading: Bentley Continental GT long-term test review - enjoying an elastic V8
We’ve not had it long, but our Continental GT has already started racking up the miles
Steve Cropley Autocar
2 mins read
5 February 2016

Our three-year-old pre-owned Conti GT V8 has been accumulating miles at an alarming rate. We’ve had it just four weeks and the mileage has already climbed from just over 21,000 when it left Bentley Birmingham (from whom the former owner bought another car) to 22,700.

It’s one of those cars that simply eats distance. We picked it up in Crewe, drove back to London for meetings, then used it the next day for a London to Midlands return dash. That was 450 miles in the first 24 hours, right there.

Even so, I’m surprised by the GT on dynamic grounds. My first impressions of Continentals were gathered during an early comparison of a GT W12 and an Aston DB9, a car we judged to be aiming at broadly the same buyers. The Bentley seemed heavy and unresponsive against the agile, road-hugging Aston, and its 6.0-litre engine was powerful but rather ‘buzzy’ beside the Aston’s V12.

The GT moved on, yet I’m surprised by just how far. Bentley has been fanatical about development, and there’s now an intuitive sophistication built into everything the car does. Steering that seemed ponderous is now appropriately firm but pleasingly sensitive; a chassis that seemed reluctant to change direction now transmits your every desire to the road. The ride is quiet and flat in any of its four selectable modes.

The outstanding element for me, though, is the engine. Like many, I viewed the twin-turbo 4.0 V8 as a kind of starter engine, not least because it is used in a motley line-up of lesser VW Group cars. But I was forgetting the Bentley fanaticism; Crewe has found a unique sound and tune for the V8 and put its power through a smart eightspeed automatic transmission.

My abiding impression after this first 1600 miles is that this car’s performance and elastic torque simply feel too big for a 4.0-litre capacity, blown or not. The engine note in Sport is refined but sublime. In fact, all you really lack with a V8 are bragging rights. I’m happy to go without them.

Bentley Continental GT V8

Price new (2013) £125,000; Price now £89,950; Economy 24.8mpg; Faults None; Expenses None; Last seen 13.1.16

Previous Bentley Continental GT reports

First report – the Bentley Continental GT joins our fleet


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Bentley Continental GT

Full of character and still able to impress, particularly as a V8

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5 February 2016
I drove an early Conti and hated it. Admittedly taking it to Somerset may not have played to its strengths but it seemed a numb, dumb thing to me. From memory even pootling along it managed about 12mpg. Amazing if they have managed to make it the success you say it is. Assume there will be another version in the next couple of years that will be 200 kilos lighter so hopefully the future remains bright for Bentley. VERY tempting at £90,000.

5 February 2016
Is it really doing 24.8mpg? I find it hard to believe, other journalists have said 19 mpg overall.
When Whatcar real mpg shows a figure for the Ford Focus 1 litre 125hp version of 27mpg.
This Bentley is one of my winning the lottery fantasies though.

5 February 2016
Its definitely become more desirable over time, It would definitely be a car I would consider now. Maybe with getting older perceptions change but I'd rather have the peerless ownership experience offered by the Bentley and sacrifice a little of the outright driver involvement offered by it's rivals

5 February 2016
Some cars just seem to improve with either age or familiarity - thinking Jaguar XJ-S and XK-8 as well as this Bentley. The flip side is cars you once drooled over (in my case DB7 and Quattroporte) now seem hideously dated or overly fussy.

5 February 2016
This car with the V8 really is very nice, and it’s quite good to drive. But… that V8 is an Audi engine (and the platform is VW Phaeton), and for me that seriously detracts from the “Bentleyness” of it, which defeats the purpose.

6 February 2016
Bought my W12 is 2009 with a huge discount and thought it would cost less in the long run as I intended to keep it for around 10 years rather than buy a Merc/BMW every three years.

It's an been amazing car apart from the fuel consumption ( you can't have everything ) thought about changing it a few times, but for what? I will change it for a new one which should be along in a couple of years. The ownership experience has been great, never failed to start, seats four if neede, wafts down the road and eats continents for fun! I haven't driven the 4.0 litre one but everyone raves about it. Can't wait until the new one is released.

I would be on my third Merc by now, it's proven to be cheaper than going down that road !!!!

6 February 2016
I thought my comment would be removed. A car manufacturer lends a journo an expensive car for six months and we're all supposed to believe that said journo doesn't have an ethical dilemma and a conflict of interest. Say it as it is : it's a jolly. No integrity at all.

6 February 2016
I visited VW's vanity project glass manufacturing plant in Dresden a couple of years ago where the unloved, apart from in China, Pheaton is made. At the time, even the Chinese had had enough and sales were in decline and to fill the spare manufacturing capacity, they were making Continentals alongside the Pheaton in a free mix on the same line, one after the other.

Stripped of its bolt-on front wings, it was difficult to tell the cars apart when all you are looking at is the painted body-in-white and they're installing the wiring loom.

It all came across as a rather cynical exercise and any warm feelings punters may get by thinking they're buying hand-craftsmanship from Crewe were instantly blown away. The guide admitted as much. The Contis made there were not going to be sold in Germany. Germans hang on to the idea of traditional British craftsmanship and insist on a Crewe car. It's so much nonsense.

6 February 2016
I'd rather have a Phaeton with its quiet elegance than this bloated Bentley nonsense.


6 February 2016
Does Cropley do anything else other than sponge freebies?

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