Hands-On with Bentley's Continental GTC V-8

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You want opulence? Bentley's got you covered. The British automaker stormed into the New York International Auto Show with its new Continental GTC V-8 complete with its new telematics system. The Continental draws its power from a 4.0-liter V8 and is capable of producing a massive 500 horsepower and asphalt obliterating 487 lb-ft of torque.

Bentley'smodus operandi has always been to build their vehicles with the best materials, and the Continental GTC V-8 is no different. The interior's inlaid wood is made from a single piece, allowing for a seamless look to the wood's grain. Anything that looks like metal in the interior is just that, metal. You won't find any faux metal plastics inside this British beast.

The vehicle's infotainment system, Bentley hasn't named it, is just as gorgeous as the car that surrounds it. The system is comprised of a 7-inch touchscreen display and features redundant physical buttons located directly below the screen to ensure users can quickly access the appropriate menu, whether that be audio, navigation or phone, through feel rather than having to look away from the road to check the touchscreen.

To reach that goal, Bentley made sure to position buttons with similar features next to each other. The audio and equalizer buttons, for instance are located to the far left of the dash, closest to the volume and power knobs. The navigation and phone buttons one the other hand, are located directly beneath the center of the touchscreen.

On the audio side of things, Bentley has included a standard AM/FM radio, satellite radio, 6-disk CD changer and dedicated iPod dock located in the glove compartment. An SD card reader has also been positioned below the system's display for quick access. The Continental GTC V-8's eight speakers are compliments of NAIM Audio and pump out some of the cleanest sound we've ever heard. Despite having the speakers turned up to an earth shattering level, we were still able to have a conversation with the person seated next to us without having to scream.

The audio system allows you to adjust bass and treble via the touchscreen, as well as change the audio balance between the different passengers. So if you want to move the audio to the right rear seat, you can simply slide the audio bull's eye over the right rear seat. It's something we haven't seen in a vehicle yet, and it's certainly appreciated.

Smartphone integration via either your Android or iPhone allows you to make calls via the car's speaker and microphone or stream music. The level of detail Bentley put into the infotainment system and its various submenus rvals that of the attentioned paid to the vehicle itself. The company took extra pains to ensure that the virtual sliders and knobs matched up with the style of the car's physical knobs. Even the radio menu was given extra love by making the tuner's styling match that of the speedometer.

We left Bentley's booth simply floored by the level of attention the company paid toward ensuring the infotainment system and car played well from a style and functionality standpoint. Now if only we could put one of these blue-blooded boats in our driveway.