2019 Bentley Continental GT V8 first drive: Grandly touring, indeed

The new V8 looks quite a bit like the old V8 but is mostly new. To differentiate them from the W12, the V8 coupe and convertible have small badges on the front fenders and quad pipes. The twin-turbo engine is also new and like the chassis is shared with Porsche’s Panamera — it’s the Volkswagen Group’s aluminum-intensive MSB platform. The front axle is now more than 5 inches closer to the front of the car, shortening the overhang and better balancing the vehicle weight: 56.5 percent rested on the front axle before, now it’s 55 percent.
The 4.0-liter produces a peak 542 hp and 568 lb-ft, 84 hp and 96 lb-ft fewer than the W12, and is mated to a new dual-clutch transmission, replacing the old car’s automatic. The lower horsepower and torque numbers barely change performance: A sprint to 60 mph in the W12 takes 3.6 seconds, while with the V8, 3.9 seconds pass before hitting 60. The W12’s top speed is 207 mph, the V8’s 198 mph. That should do nicely.
Like the GT W12, or any other Bentley for that matter, there is a lot of choice when spec-ing a V8. Twenty-inch wheels are standard with options up to 22. There are seven standard exterior colors and 60-plus more available (!) and several veneer finishes (naturally) inside the stunning cockpit. The ragtop can be had in seven colors, including, for the first time, tweed. The top, by the way, can raise or lower itself in 19 seconds at vehicle speeds of up to 30 mph.