Bentley wants its new V8-powered Continental GT variant to feature a dual-clutch transmission that Audi has named the S Tronic. For now, Bentley’s engineers are conducting engineering studies on the feasibility of packaging the S Tronic into the Continental’s transmission tunnel.
The engineers are confronted with having to re-engineer and build the GT’s underbody and running gear to accept the S Tronic, which is shaped differently from the six-speed ZF the W12 GT will use.
The dual-clutch transmission offers a sportier driving experience, which is something that Bentley thinks will appeal to the new group of buyers targeted to purchase the V8 GT. According to Bentley’s new sales and marketing boss Alasdair Stewart, the V8 will draw in a “new audience.”
He added that there are many sports car enthusiasts, especially in the US, who wouldn’t buy a car if it doesn’t have a V8. It’s likely that the V8 will be cheaper, meaning that it will be cheaper than the W12-powered version, priced slightly above $188k.
The V8, which will start selling in early 2012, is expected to help Bentley sustain sales of the new GT at the same level as the outgoing model, which peaked at about 5,000 cars a year. Bentley predicts that with the V8, the new car will rake in as many sales as the old one.