2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S

2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S

Episode 3338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The Brits may drive on the wrong side of the road and call soccer, football, but they sure know what they’re doing when it comes to building sporting upper-crust rides. That know-how is best experienced in the Bentley Continental GT, the brand’s sexy superstar. But that nasty streak of performance that has long been lurking beneath its sensuous sheet metal is now even wider.

When Bentley broadened the Continental GT lineup with a V8 model last year, the reasons were simple. Downsizing from a W12 to an eight means better fuel economy and less tax in certain important markets like China. An added no-cost benefit was less weight over the front end that gives the GT V8 a more nimble nature. The 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S looks to build on that by adding a little more performance back into the mix. 

For starter, the 4.0-liter V8 gets a boost, or more boost out of its twin turbochargers. Output increases 21-horsepower to 521, torque spins up 15 lb-ft. to 502. The attached ZF close ratio 8-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and steering column-mounted shifters needed no upgrades as it already handles much more power from the W12. 

From there, the ride controlling hardware also gets a “tending to” for a lower ride height and even greater agility. Brake size stays the same, but calipers are now dressed up with red paint. 

Now, a few more horsepower and some suspension tweaks don’t necessarily make for drastic changes in performance. But, there’s only one way to be sure…

With the GT’s rear biased all-wheel-drive, there’s plenty of hook up and go at launch. Power is smooth and plentiful, but there wasn’t quite enough extra thrust to better the standard GT V8 0-60 time of 4.2-seconds. Still that’s only two tenths slower than the last Continental W12 we tested. 

The power never seems to let up, as you smooth shift your way down the track, clearing the ¼ mile in 12.4-seconds and 112 miles-per-hour. Braking power is just as impressive bringing a hasty halt to things in only 118 feet from 60. While piloting some luxury liners through a slalom course does resemble steering a cruise ship from a recliner, this 5,000 pound GT has always been a capable carver.

And while you still feel all of the heft, the V8 S’ spring rates have been increased to keep the transfer in check a bit more, bushings stiffened to quicken turn ins, and damping revised to take out more of the float. Steering feel is still pretty dead, but the chassis seems to shed weight as you go, responding better the more you push. 

When you’re driving an updated version of anything, you want people to know, of course. And specific upgrades to the V8 S include a black gloss treatment to the grilles and a front splitter low in the fascia. Side sills get discreetly extended between the standard 20-inch or upgraded 21-inch alloy wheels, and there’s a tasteful V8 S fender badge. Astern, the diffuser also gets a glossy finish, nicely integrating the figure 8-shaped exhaust tips. 

Leather wrapped and comfortably numb is how you feel inside the cabin; and as always, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to materials and color choices. Keep them tasteful, please! The traditional touches like knurled metal, glossy finishes, and organ stops are all still terrific; and most interior controls have a German feel and precision. 

And if open air motoring is more to your liking, just as in other Bentley Continental GT offerings; you can get a convertible as well. The appearance with the top up is not quite as classy or dynamic, but those shortcomings are short-lived as you lower the top into the boot, hit the road, and enjoy some warm spring weather, or even maybe some traditional British gloom. 

Ride quality seemed just as good in the Convertible as the Coupe, despite our Glacier White example riding on limited edition 21-inch Black 7-spoke alloys. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings come in the same as the standard GT V8, at 15-City, 24-Highway, and 18-Combined. We averaged 17.8 miles-per-gallon of Premium in mixed driving. 

You have to know that this much luxury and fun come at a price, $199,225 for the Coupe and $219,925 for the Convertible. With options, this pair was pushing a cool half-mil, but who’s counting?

The Bentley Continental GT has always been one of our favorite big buck sporting coupes, and this 2014 GT V8 S only reaffirms why we love them so much. But there may be troubled waters on the horizon, with Rolls-Royce offering more technology features and wow factor with their Wraith Coupe, and a “smashing” S-Class Coupe coming from Mercedes-Benz, this Continental GT’s time as lead vehicle might be running out. 

Specifications

  • Engine: 4.0-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 521
  • Torque: 502 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.2 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 12.4 seconds @ 112 mph
  • EPA: 15 mpg city/ 24 mpg highway
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles