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Brit Hit

With a new engine option and all-wheel drive, Bentley’s Continental GT V8 is a supercoupe nonpareil.

From Burberry to Belstaff, the British clearly know their luxury goods—and automobiles are certainly no exception. Take the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8, easily the finest rolling example of British craftsmanship and engineering prowess to date. Under the hood, a newly available twin-turbocharged V8 engine offers an exceptional alternative to the GT’s previous gas-guzzling 12-cylinder, achieving three miles more per gallon and costing buyers about $20,000 less.

With 500 horsepower on tap, the GT flies from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Shifting is silky smooth with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which can also be controlled manually with paddles behind the steering wheel. Traction, meanwhile, is never an issue for the all-wheel drive GT, making it ideal for winter months. And an adjustable-height suspension system proves indispensable when emerging from parking garages, or simply dodging potholed cold-weather roads.

This being Bentley, the GT looks supremely refined while performing so impressively. The exterior evokes contemporary yet timeless elegance with its long, aerodynamic line, while the body is constructed with best-in-class superformed aluminum panels. The superforming process, most commonly seen in the aerospace industry, uses air pressure to shape a single piece of aluminum heated to 930 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in a panel that requires no seams or welds. On the GT, the process is used to greatest effect in the single sheet that forms a portion of the hood, fenders and headlamp housings.

Stepping inside, drivers enjoy a splendid medley of cutting-edge technology and bespoke, handcrafted luxury. A 30GB onboard hard drive incorporates Google Maps, displayed on a large 8-inch LCD touch screen, alongside such old-world details as a hand-varnished sunglasses case and a leather steering wheel that takes a single craftsperson more than eight hours to hand-stitch. Bentley leaves no detail overlooked, down to the stem caps on the tires, brandished with an iconic flying “B” logo.

Those in the market for a two-door all-season luxury supercoupe to start this new year off on an exceptional note can stop looking now; for this class of automobile, it simply doesn’t get better than Bentley’s Continental GT V8.

Spec Check
2014 Bentley Continental GT V8
Base Price: $198,600
Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower: 500 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 487 lb.-ft. @ 1,700 rpm
Cargo Capacity: 12.6 cu. ft.
City fuel economy: 15 mpg
Highway fuel economy: 24 mpg
Fuel tank: 24 gal.
Weight: 5,060 lbs.
0 to 60 mph: 4.6 seconds
Top Speed: 188 mph

Fab Features
Figure-eight tailpipes
Adjustable height suspension
Knurled chrome organ vent pulls