2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S
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.
- 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
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined