Bottom line: None but the most hedonistic speed demon will turn up his or her nose at the new Bentley GT8. There is more than enough power there, and it’s delivered so smoothly, precisely! It doesn’t hurt that it’s all done with a 40 percent improvement in fuel economy.
Ride, acceleration and handling: It’s superior in all three. If Bentley allows me to do so, I’d drive this as long and as far as possible and later beg forgiveness for any wrongs done.
Head-turning quotient: Simply beautiful.
Engine/transmission: The standard engine is an Audi-sponsored 4.1-liter, 32-valve, twin-turbocharged V-8 with variable valve timing (500 horsepower, 487 foot-pounds of torque). It is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually.
Body style/layout: The 2013 Bentley GT8 is a front-engine, all-wheel-drive luxury compact coupe also available as a convertible, and with a W-12 engine.
Capacities: There are comfortable seats for the driver and front passenger. Back-seat space and headroom are limited, perhaps suitable for small people or children. There is enough trunk space for four bags of groceries or overnight soft-luggage pieces. The fuel tank holds an estimated 24 gallons of the required premium unleaded gasoline. (The fuel tank could be larger or smaller in the final production model.)
Mileage: In a nearly 200-mile run with my co-driver, Brian Armstead, we averaged 23.7 miles per gallon.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags, and front and rear seat-belt pre-tension devices (to better hold you in place in the event of a crash).
Pricing: Prices for the 2013 Bentley GT8 had not been firmly set at this writing. The estimated preliminary starting range is $175,000 to $180,000.