Where the air is rare

Mem­ber­ship of the ex­clu­sive GT V8S club brings sub­lime com­fort — and the clout of a pri­vate eq­uity fund

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

IF A Porsche lacks panache and a Rolls-Royce doesn’t have the re­quired wind­screen rake, Bent­ley is your brand.

As much a fash­ion state­ment as lux­ury coupe, the Con­ti­nen­tal GT V8S is for the well-heeled buyer who de­sires a lux­ury grand tourer with very long legs.

A twin-turbo V8 shared with the Audi RS6 fires this 2.3‒tonne au­to­mo­tive ti­tan to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds, cour­tesy of an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and all‒wheel drive.

Apart from the in­ten­tional au­ral in­tru­sion as the en­gine gives vent, the ex­pe­ri­ence is ethe­real as the speedo nee­dle spins around the dial ac­com­pa­nied by an ab­sence of lurch­ing, wind noise or any stan­dard barom­e­ter of pace.

Then again, for $405,600 so it should. That’s for starters — our test car came in at a firsthome­buy­ing price of $502,055 be­fore on-road costs.

The op­tions are as ex­pan­sive as the ve­hi­cle it­self. Would sir like a sports ex­haust and brakes and cabin bling made from car­bon fi­bre? That’ll be $36,965.

Up­grad­ing to 21-inch wheels with an ad­mit­tedly ex­quis­ite “black di­a­mond” fin­ish, adding al­loy ped­als and jewel-fin­ish fuel and oil caps, along with di­a­mond-quilted and per­fo­rated leather, em­broi­dered Bent­ley head­rest em­blems and “in­dented head­lin­ing hide” is another $16,916.

The pre­mium audio adds $14,636, tinted front and rear lamps are a $3474 in­vest­ment and con­trast­ing needle­work on the leather up­hol­stery will stitch buy­ers up by $3810.

At this price one might ex­pect a rev­ers­ing cam­era as de­fault gear. Sadly, no. It also re­quires an op­tion tick, though at $2431 is a rel­a­tive bar­gain.

The eye-sear­ing yel­low paint­work on the Cars­guide re­view car adds $11,011 and is best re­served for those who de­light in be­ing the fo­cus of at­ten­tion (or are con­sid­er­ing cre­at­ing a fleet of taxis for the mega-rich).

If the lat­ter is the case, it’s ef­fec­tively a one-pas­sen­ger con­veyance. The rear seat is best left as some­where to sit the Her­mes hand­bag. It’s not an un­com­fort­able place to be (though legroom is limited) but there’s sim­ply no deco­rous way to en­ter and exit the back. And that’s not in keep­ing with the glam­orous na­ture of this ma­chine.

A 14-way ad­justable front seat and elec­tri­cally pow­ered steer­ing col­umn en­sure it’s easy to find the op­ti­mum driv­ing po­si­tion and the in­fo­tain­ment menus and switchgear are as log­i­cal as can be ex­pected from a fu­sion of Ger­man and Bri­tish en­gi­neer­ing.

The leather-clad pad­dleshifter­s (a $1422 op­tion) are the only down­side of the ex­pe­ri­ence, be­ing set too far be­hind the wheel to make changes an in­tu­itive ex­pe­ri­ence. Given the trans­mis­sion’s pre­set shift points range from waft­ing smooth in drive mode to ham­mer­ing race-blips in sport, there’s lit­tle oc­ca­sion to use them any­way.

At pace or through tight cor­ners the Bent­ley’s nose­heavy bias is ap­par­ent, kept in check by all-wheel grip and a chas­sis hewn as if from gran­ite.

The sus­pen­sion can be ad­justed via a vir­tual slider on the in­fo­tain­ment screen to step from soft and cud­dly with ut­ter dis­dain for road joins and pot­holes to a so­lid­ity that wouldn’t be out of place on a track.


Bent­ley own­er­ship is an ex­clu­sive club — the Aus­tralian sales tally is about 10 a month. In the case of the GT V8S, that mem­ber­ship brings with it a sub­limely com­fort­able cruiser with all the clout of a pri­vate eq­uity fund. Price isn’t the is­sue, ap­pear­ances are … and you don’t want the GT V8S ap­pear­ing in your rear-view mir­rors.

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