At 2012 Detroit Motor Show next January Bentley will unveil new versions of Continental GT and GTC powered by a brand-new V8 engine.
There is only one reason why the big Conti should get a V8 and that’s strict rules about fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Bentley tried to stick to the W12 for as long as possible, but time has moved on and they have to cope.
Good news is this 4.0 liter twin turbocharged V8 is a good one. Let’s review its figures for a kick off: It delivers maximum power of 500 bhp (507 PS/373 kW) at 6000 rpm and an extraordinary peak torque of 660 Nm (487 lb ft) available from just 1700 rpm. It is paired with a new close-ratio 8-speed automatic transmission.
The result of this combination in terms of performance is a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint of under 5 seconds. But the top speed is only 290 km/h (180 mph) which is pretty fast, but not as fast as the W12, understandably.
As for the fuel economy, while official facts and figures are yet to be confirmed, Bentley says it will be capable of travelling over 500 miles (800 km) on a single tank of fuel. That is simply astonishing for a car of this class and this size. You know, if it turns out to be true of course. You can’t really trust such numbers unless they are verified by an independent source.
Apart from the engine the rest of the car is the same as before, expect for a few distinguishing details. The V8 comes with a black gloss matrix grille with chrome frame and centre bar, a red enamel Bentley ‘B’ badge, and a black matrix three-segment lower front bumper divided by distinctive body-coloured strakes. At the rear, unique chromed ‘figure eight’ exhaust tailpipes, a dark lower valance and red enamel ‘B’ bootlid badge emphasise the sporty, contemporary identity of the new V8s.
So there you go, a V8-powered Bentley for green people!