Bentley Continental GT V8 PHEV prototype review

There is still heavy-duty hardware to manage the car’s heft. It has 48V active anti-roll bars, two-chamber air springs and a new dual-valve damper system that has a much broader spread of stiffness and response than previously.

The idea is that in the default B (for Bentley) driving mode, the car’s ride response is similar to the current car’s, but if you put it into a sporty mode, it becomes considerably better controlled than previously, and conversely is now much more comfortable in a softer setting. Crucially, so they say, the new set-up is better at isolation and body control, so you can have more of both.

My drive of it was limited to four laps of a damp circuit, and one of those was a cool-down lap, so most of that is to be confirmed at a later date. But two things stand out immediately: the steering is much lighter, and a bit more direct, which makes the car feel more alive and alert straight away; and the redistributed weight means its turn-in and balance feel much improved – more neutral on turn-in, and more adjustable on corner exit.

For what I think is the first time in a Continental GT, you can back it into corners on the brakes and feel the rear end start to work, to rotate, and then the car straightens its line really nicely on corner exit. I’m not sure what active rear steer – used to increase manoeuvrability at low speeds and enhance stability at higher ones – will be doing at this point but the whole thing feels quite natural. There’s some road feel through the steering too.


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