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Bentley goes V8 with new coupe

2012-01-10 09:18


DETROIT, Michigan - Incredibly fast cruising, an 800km range, ultra-luxury, in coupe or convertible format and acceleration from rest to 100km/h in 4.6sec. It's Bentley's new all-wheel drive Continental GT V8.

The car was launched on Monday (Jan 9) at the Detroit auto show with a presentation by the automaker's CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer, who included those details in a speech that added... "and all this in a car with the luxury, quality and craftsmanship that can only be Bentley".


"For a decade the Continental has defined high-luxury grand touring," he said. "Throughout that decade there has been only one engine capable of delivering the effortless power and performance the GT needs – the unique six-litre, twin-turbo, W12 (which originated from VW).

"Indeed, that engine has been so successful that Bentley is now the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder engines, and the W12 will continue with further development to the next level of power, performance and efficiency."

Now, however, there exists "a ground-breaking, four-litre, twin-turbo V8". Bentley says this is a new generation of V8 but "the sound is unmistakeable; the deep growl that can only be a V8". It also happens to use 40% less fuel, given the right conditions and driving style.

A LOT OF BACKSIDE: ... and not a lot of glass will instantly identify the 2012 Bentley Continental V8. But in a good way?

"Our engineers left no detail unexamined," Duerheimer promised of the engine as he gazed down at the crowd - mostly journalists from around the world, "in seeking more efficiency and higher performance. Every component was designed to minimise energy losses without compromising power or durability.

"This optimised everything - low-friction bearings, thermal management, energy recovery, low rolling-resistance tyres -  but perhaps the most ground-breaking technology of all is variable displacement – deactivating cylinders when not needed."


Bentley, he claimed, was a pioneer in this - which is not true because such systems have been in use for 20 years. However, the automaker first used it in the flagship Mulsanne in 2010; at a steady cruising speed four of the eight cylinders shut down. Their valves remain closed until more power is needed - for acceleration, a hill perhaps.

With all eight cylinders firing, the engine is capable of 372kW at 6000rpm, 660Nm across most of the rev range and 300km/h through a new close-ratio, eight-speed auto transmission.

NOW WE GET THE LOOKS: Minus the mighty mass of the sister-ship coupe's rear end, the Continental convertible becomes a handsome, if not outstandingly so, set of summer wheels.

"The cars' design features leave no doubt," Duerheimer said, "that this is an unmistakeably sporty new Grand Tourer: a chrome-rimmed black matrix grille, a black mesh lower grill witha  distinctive shark's teeth appearance, figure-eight tailpipes and a red Bentley
badge to demonstrate its sporting pedigree."

The V8 will by used in both the GT and the new Continental GT convertible. Deliveries will begin in the next few months.

Prices (UK)
Bentley Continental GT V8  - £123 850
Bentley Continental GTC V8 - £136 250

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