Climb into the Continental GT V8 and, once you’ve started the engine, you’ll notice a little bong that’ll sound familiar to anyone who’s driven a high-spec Audi, and a very similar digital instrument display (Virtual Cockpit in Audi speak). What you’ll also notice, however, is that the interface is different, the dials looking very Bentley-esque. The Bentley logo flashes up when the engine fires, too, so there’s no mistaking this for a product of anywhere but Crewe.
The optional Bentley Rotating Display is an option but a must have. Moving from a panel of wood to the central infotainment screen to three beautiful dials set into wood, the Continental’s cabin would feel very different without it. Considering it took three years to design and has its own ECU, £4,820 isn’t too much.
There are 20-inch wheels as standard, with options for 21-inchers or 22s, as well as Bluetooth, a DAB radio, sat-nav, a CD/DVD player, Apple CarPlay. The ‘basic’ sound system is a 650W, 10-speaker unit, but you can upgrade to either a 1,500W, 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen or a 2,200W, 18-speaker Naim system. The car you see here had also been treated to the Blackline Specification, where the chrome grille, window and light surrounds go from a chrome finish to satin black.
What’s a shame is that a lot of the kit you’d use and enjoy every day is optional. The ‘Touring Specification’, which includes lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control as well as a head-up display and night vision is £6,415, while the City Specification, which adds a top view camera, traffic sign recognition and a reversing traffic warning is £4,060.
On a different note, you’d think a big V8 would use plenty of fuel wouldn’t you? Well yes, it does, or at least it uses more than a Kia Picanto. But what the V8 does at a cruise is shut down half of its cylinders to save fuel and lower its emissions, meaning you’ll see around 24mpg if you’re careful with the throttle. Granted – and I talk from experience here – that’s very difficult to do with a burbling engine, but if you really concentrate it is just possible.