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Speed and Style: The 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8

The 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8 is more than a sports car, better than a luxury sedan, and quite possibly the coolest vehicle you’ll admire as it blows past you on the interstate.

If driving a Bentley conjures more images of personal drivers named Jeeves than rubber-burning horsepower, then you’ve obviously never experienced the Bentley Continental GT V8. And experience is truly the word to describe driving this vehicle. I’ve driven my share of 500-horses-under-the-hood supercars. I love everything about them: the speed, torque, engine noise, driver interaction, and road- hugging handling. What I’ve always expected to be forgotten in these muscled-up speedsters is everything you expect from a Bentley. After checking out the spec sheet of this car and its engine, the last thing you’d expect is the ease, class, comfort, and absolute elegance that it offers in every square inch.

THE EXPERIENCE
Sitting in this car definitely makes you think Bentley: hand-stitched seats; special Bentley-logo embroidery; grain-matched, real-wood veneers (not to mention the in-dash instrument panel that includes a touch-screen GPS, satellite radio, and all the extras that you’d want if you’re a lazy sedan driver, or supercar enthusiast looking to enhance your neck-snapping experience on the streets or track—all perfectly designed at your fingertips). Turning this car on and pressing on the gas pedal dismisses any thought that this is just a luxury vehicle. The direct-injected, 500-horsepower, 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged engine in this V8 is two liters smaller than the W-12, but has a more aggressive feel with a better balance and driving experience (the V8 and W-12 clock in at 4.6 and 4.4 seconds in the same zero-to-60 test, respectively—a small price to pay for the estimated 40% in gas savings).

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If there’s any problem, it’s that the car might suffer from an identity crisis. It’s powerful and nimble enough to take on anything dubbed “muscle” or “sport,” yet luxurious enough to deserve a Bentley badge. If high speed and high class are at the top of your list, and price isn’t an issue ($174,000 is the base price), then the Bentley Continental GT V8 is the ride you want.

THE STATS

  • Twin-turbo chargers are placed within the V, contributing to efficiency and weight reduction.
  • When you’re not driving at higher speeds, the cylinders you don’t need are deactivated.
  • Max Speed: 188 mph /303 km/h
  • Highway Driving: 24 mpg
  • City Driving: 15 mpg
  • 20-inch alloy wheels as standard with an optional 21-inch, six-spoke design
  • 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Fuel Efficiency: 40% fuel-efficiency gain
  • Fuel-tank Capacity: 24 gallons/90 liters

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