What is it?
Ask Bentley what this car represents and they’d probably tell you it is the entry point to the Continental GT range, a way of immersing yourself in the deep waters of Bentley design without getting entirely carried away and going for the full fat W12 version.
Because twelve cylinders are clearly better than eight and, by the same reasoning, six litres must best four. Surely? Well we’ll get to the rights and wrongs of that in a moment.
In the meantime what you’re really looking at is Bentley’s purest take on the GT theme. It’s about as abused an acronym as exists in the automotive canon, especially if you allow it to be extended into ‘GTI’, but this is Bentley’s take on the original concept: an expensive and exclusive luxury car (which is the Grand) designed for doing enormous distances without apparent strain either on itself or its occupants (which is the Touring).
To that end it deploys the aforementioned 4-litre, twin turbo V8, taking it with a 542bhp power output, which is just 10 fewer horses than had the original 6-litre Continental GT in 2003. Then again it’s still a little frustrating to know that the same engine has another 50bhp when fitted to the Audi RS6 which costs less than two thirds as much. Some may even lament the fact that with a little hybrid assistance, this engine can produce up to 670bhp and does so in the Porsche Panamera, which, lest we forget, sits on the same platform as the Bentley. I’m not one of them because in my experience the Porsche loses far more for the enormous additional weight of the hybrid drive than it gains in pure punch, so I’m just putting it out there.
Otherwise, things are as expected. The engine removes a useful 50kg from the nose of the Continental GT and the suspension has been tuned to reflect that fact, not to make it any more, or less sporting.