Does anyone else recall the Fox TV network's endless promo's many years ago for that crappy show called Wife Swap?
"Meet your new mommy!" the announcer crowed over video of the horrified children -- shocked that their parents would sign up for this reality-show charade?
That is my face now as I say to myself, "Wow, meet the new luxury supercar 'Daddy.'"
The Bentley Continental GT has faced many harsh critiques over the years it has dominated its market segment - criticized even while selling so many that it defined what a modern, successful Bentley Cars Ltd should be in the process. I'm sure you can list some of the critiques yourself: nose-heavy, footballer's car, too brash, too this or too that.
Let me tell you this from my own personal experience: all that is a load of crap. This car is amazing! Amazing, incredible machine that is so fast it slows your brain functioning down -- and so handsome in real life that you forgive any familiarity it might have from afar with the first-gen Conti GT.
The car is stunning to behold. While a bit angle-sensitive and definitely benefiting from the V8 S model's extra menace via lower air splitters in gloss black -- the overall shape is still quite lovely. Especially in the pearlescent white of the test car, which is one of literally 200,000 paint colors ready-to-go today at Crewe.
Feels divine. Feels very, very nice with none of the tall-chair driving position of the Rolls-Royce Wraith. The low roof makes things feel dramatic right from the start -- and they are selling a great story from the moment the door closes with a soft thump.
This is where the Continental GT V8 S really won my heart and mind: even coming from a driver who has -- despite being dirt-poor himself -- piloted the Wraith and various S63 AMG models in his time as a car writer.
...Since March 2013, when I started writing about cars!
Not bad, huh?
Let me tell you: the Bentley GTV8S -- for short -- is absolutely a revelation.
Let's break the observations into three categories: Easy, Fun and FAST.
What sticks with me most is how effortless the power and movement of the machine feel, whether in a parking lot or at ten tenths around a circuit. The car is just easy and lightweight. The traditional ball-topped gearlever makes the drive process simple to initiate -- even for non-car-people -- and all the controls fall right to hand. The driving position feels great and immediately ensconces you in the correct, slightly-reclined position to drive the GTV8S as it likes to be driven.
Fun comes in many favors, but for someone who has spent his 20s driving a WRX bug-eye wagon and then a Subaru Legacy GT wagon -- obviously I have an affinity for full-time, locked AWD systems.
But the Bentley is in another league in every way versus the Subaru's, obviously. One similarity is the cars' tenacity when pulling hard out of corners. The Subaru's never lose grip or even suggest losing grip in this scenario, and the Bentley is the same way.
Both cars like my Subies and the Bentley are now turbocharged -- but while Subaru turbocharging is a 'throttle-down-ok-wait-here-it-comes' boost experience, the Bentley GTV8S is absolutely rapid on its throttle responsiveness.
Not saying it is jerky -- it is not -- it just pulls like a rocket even before the big boost hits. At that point, the car seems to go into its real "Zen" moment. The GTV8S is happiest absolutely hurtling you toward the horizon.
Do you know how long it takes to get from space shuttle lift-off in Cape Canaveral all the way into space and near the moon? About eight minutes. The sense of speed is so immense that most astronauts never even truly remember it. The body is on sensory overload and preservation-mode of huge G-force.
The Bentley just kisses this level of inertial euphoria. It holds you at the ecstasy point -- holds you tight and never wants to stop.
But you wimp out first, every time, before the Bentley GTV8S. Whether from fear of curves or fear of speeding tickets -- you will chickened out before the Bentley Continental GT V8 S.
So, do I love it?
Is it my new favorite car, even above the S63 AMG and BMW M5 that I have also raved about? Even above the GT-R?
Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have liftoff. The new fun, fling-able and luxury coupe king is home.
"AMG, BMW: Meet your new Daddy..."
...and the inevitable next line:
"Now go outside and play, the grown-ups need private time...."
2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S