Pros: Amazing torque gives acceleration at all speeds; New V8 allows for an easier jump from S-Class or 7 Series; Unique car that can be driven every day; All-wheel drive inspires confidence in northern climates
Cons: Even with V8, still expensive compared to Mercedes, BMW; Beautiful design starting to show its age after eight years; Coupe and convertible offer limited rear seat space
What's new: The big news for the 2013 Bentley Continental lineup is the addition of an entry-level V8 model. Currently only offered on GT coupe and GTC convertible models, it accompanies several styling revisions.
The Volkswagen-based Bentley Continental made its debut as a 2004 model. Initially offered only as the Continental GT, a two-door coupe, the Continental added a sedan model for 2006. Dubbed the Continental Flying Spur, it used the same engine and chassis as the coupe but added two doors. The soft top Continental GTC joined the lineup in 2007. In 2008, a high-performance "Speed" trim was added to each bodystyle, while an even sportier "SuperSports" model joined in 2010. It's offered as a coupe or a convertible.
For 2013, the two-door Continental GT and GTC models offer two trims. A new base-level model uses a 500-horsepower turbocharged V8 borrowed from the Audi S8. High-end W12 models retain last year's 6.0-liter turbocharged W12. It now produces 567 horsepower instead of 552. The 2013 Flying Spur did not add a V8 model for 2013 pending the arrival of an all-new version for the 2014 model year. All Continental models include all-wheel drive. V8 models use an eight-speed automatic, while an eight-speed is paired to the W12.
The 2013 Bentley Continental GT is priced from $176,000, while the GTC starts at $193,000. It costs about $20,000 to add a W12 to either model. The W12-only Continental Flying Spur sedan starts around $185,000.