Looking at the latest 2013 Bentley Continental GT, there’s not much to distinguish it from the original version launched almost a decade ago, but after a quick spin in both you’ll come to the conclusion that they’re worlds apart.
That’s because for the first time in the Continental GT’s life there are two completely different engines to choose from.
That’s right. The Continental GT, along with its GTC convertible sibling, can now be ordered with either a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 or the existing twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12.
While the bigger engine may appear to be the performance driver’s choice, it’s actually the V-8 that’s the more athletic option. The V-8 is considerably lighter than the W-12, which is definitely felt when cornering, and it’s more willing to rev to its limits. Its 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque also comes close to the 567 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of the W-12, meaning both engines offer stupidly fast acceleration.
The entire Continental GT range was given a major overhaul just last year so apart from the new engine option there’s not much to mention for the 2013 model. All-wheel drive remains standard on all models, but new to the range is a close-ratio eight-speed automatic transmission and Torsen differential with 40:60 rear-biased split.
Small differences tell the W-12 and V-8 cars apart: V-8s have red-enameled badges and a black grille with a vertical spline of chrome, as well as figure-eight exhaust tips and inwardly angled supports on the front air dam. However, either will get you from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds or less and see you easily pass the 180-mph mark on the speedo.
Also common to both cars is a lavish interior, which is topped by few other cars currently in production. The look and feel is classic luxury, though there are plenty of modern elements throughout. The cabin comes lined with Eliade cloth for the roof, darkened eucalyptus wood veneers on much of the dash, and leather trim on most other surfaces.
All Continental GT models have standard electronic climate control, Bluetooth and a DVD navigation system that also controls climate and audio functions. The navigation system sports Google maps and a vibrant 8-inch LCD touchscreen. A premium audio system from fellow British firm Naim is available and well worth ordering.
For our look at how the new 2013 Bentley Continental GT drives, check our extensive first drive report
. And for all the specs and pricing information, head over to our sister site The Car Connection