2013 Bentley Continental GT V8 Official [HD] (Option Auto News)
THE NEW CONTINENTAL V8 MODELS
Distinctive sporting style:
Gloss black matrix grille with bright chrome surround and divider
Three-segment lower bumper with black air intakes and striking body-coloured dividers
Dark rear lower valance
Distinctive twin ‚figure eight‘ exhaust tailpipes
Red enamel Bentley winged ‚B‘ badges above the front grille, to the bootlid and wheel centres
7 exterior colours offered in standard range
Sporty, contemporary interior:
New Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneer unique to the V8 models
Eliade cloth headlining and pillar trim
Short centre console in place of W12 through-console
4 hide colours offered in standard range
Unique two-tone leather colour split
3 hood colours (Continental GTC)
Exhilarating, efficient new 4.0 litre V8 engine:
Exceptional power-to-emissions ratio reflecting engine efficiency
Variable displacement (a technology first proven on the Mulsanne) imperceptibly cuts 4 cylinders on cruise and light throttle
Switchable engine mounts ensure refinement
Engine optimisation technologies boost efficiency
New, close-ratio, 8-speed transmission offers 6 per cent efficiency gain with ultra-fast shifts
Turbochargers mounted within ‚V‘ for efficiency and fast response
Over 500 miles (800km) range on one tank of fuel
Distinctive V8 growl
All-wheel drive system with 40:60 rear biased torque split
Thirty nine percent of compact sedan buyers make choices based on exterior design, surveys show. But designing a sub-4 metre sedan with pleasant styling and neat proportions still remains a challenge for automakers. Ford has skillfully leapt over that challenge, and the result is a very pretty compact sedan – the Figo Aspire.
The Figo Aspire has a very satisfying design when compared to its closest rivals. The gaping grille with thin chrome bars gives the Aspire the same character as its elder sibling - the Fiesta. The swept-back polygonal headlamp and the bonnet bulge add to its attractiveness when viewed from front three quarters. Move to the sides and you immediately know it’s a compact sedan but thanks to an elongated character line and rising beltline, proportions appear balanced. Ditto for the car’s posterior; the boot is well integrated and the wraparound taillights are joined by a chrome strip across the bootlid. The fact that the Figo Aspire is among the best-looking compact sedans isn’t a point of contention.
Another major challenge in designing a sub-4 metre sedan could be the cabin spaciousness. To Ford’s credit, the designers have engaged their brains to eke out the maximum space in the cabin. At 2491mm, the Aspire has the longest wheelbase in the segment, hence the roomiest interiors. Moreover, the back of the front seats are well-scooped out, freeing up more kneeroom for rear passengers. The dual tone interior combination (beige and black) that’s standard across variants adds a feeling of airiness to the cabin, too. The boot measures 359 litres and is sufficient for a small family weekend away.
The dashboard layout is similar to the Fiesta and Ecosport, but the climate control console looks more upmarket with rotary controls finished in chrome. ‘Icy blue’ readouts on the instrument cluster and centre console are soothing to eyes. There are as many as 20 cubbyholes and assorted storage areas to keep your stuff in the cabin.
Ford excels when it comes to in-car technology. Like the EcoSport and the Fiesta, the Aspire too deserves the title of a “connected car.” Top trims are equipped with SYNC with Ford AppLink, a feature that keeps drivers safely connected while driving. AppLink syncs with your smartphone and controls the apps with voice commands. Currently two apps - explore by MapMyIndia and ESPN Cricinfo – are available for AppLink. From finding a nearby restaurant to making a reservation or staying abreast with cricketing action, AppLink seamlessly responds to your voice commands, even in Indian accent.
Ford has also introduced a new feature called MyKey with the Aspire. MyKey lets you program your key to a restricted driving mode before handing the car over to your chauffeur or any less experienced driver. The top speed and audio system volume can be restricted through MyKey. It also plays a chime until front-seat occupants fasten their seatbelts.
The lower trims are equipped with MyFord Dock, an interesting and very useful feature that allows you to mount and charge your mobile phone, MP3 player or satellite navigation system, and integrate these devices into the car’s entertainment system. It virtually makes your device part of the centre console in a perfect, easy-to-access position.
So, three engines to choose from; a 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre diesel, and a 1.5-litre petrol that will only be available with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel were offered for test drive. The petrol is the same 1196cc unit from the Figo hatch, with some changes to optimize power delivery and fuel efficiency. The engine develops 86.8bhp of power and 112Nm of torque and does the job nicely around town, where it is quite and smooth. But it has to be worked quite hard and feels out of its depth on the highway.
The 1.5-litre diesel engine is inherited from the Fiesta and makes 98.6bhp and 215Nm. The same engine on Fiesta and EcoSport makes only 90bhp but the tweaks to the ECU have helped the Aspire achieve more impressive figures. It’s indeed a pleasure to drive the diesel, with great low-end torque responsiveness and amazing mid-range. Turbo lag is very minimal and you can drive around the city without having to downshift every now and then. It pulls neatly from around 1700rpm and keeps on going all the way to the redline.
The 1.2-litre petrol returns a mileage of 17kmpl while the 1.5-lire diesel impresses with 25.83kmpl.
Ride and Handling
Ford generally achieves the perfect balance between ride and handling with their products. But the Aspire is comparatively a light car, with the heaviest version weighing in at just 1048kg, and the lightness if obvious during spirited driving. Suspension is tuned toward comfort and the Aspire levels dips and humps with ease. Handling and steering response are not as impressive as one would expect from a Ford but it’s just satisfactory for the compact sedan segment.
Six airbags! Yes, Aspire has struck gold in safety department by offering six airbags in the top variant and driver and passenger airbags as standard across trims. ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) inspires great confidence, too. Other safety features include Electronic Stability Program, Hill Launch Assist and a High-strength Steel Cage body structure.
It took a while for Ford to enter the compact sedan segment but once they did, they did it in style. The Figo Aspire ticks all the right boxes – it has arguably the best styling, the most spacious interior, great features and performance and above all, unmatched safety features. If priced attractively, the Aspire could be the best-selling compact sedan and perhaps, a benchmark on how a compact sedan should be.