V8-powered Continental GT expected to boost Bentley sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 19, 2010

Bentley expects its entry-level V8 Continental GT to boost GT production back to its peak of 5000 units. Because of the recession, the output had been halved. Set to go on sale in 2012, the V8 is targeted at a new group of buyers, especially in the US, where V8s are popular.

The Continental GT was showcased at the Paris motor show earlier this month. It will cost from £135,760, an increase of almost £10,000 on the current car's £126,500 sticker price. Bentley is hoping that this new model will continue the success of the 2003 original.

At first glance, they may appear similar but the new Conti has been given several major updates, including a new engine and a yet undisclosed 4.0-litre direct injection V8.

The 2011 version of Bentley’s familiar twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 received revisions to its engine management electronics and a few new low-friction measures that would enhance both power and torque, from 552bhp to 567bhp and from 479lb ft to 516lb ft.

Bentley hasn’t provided a lot of details about its all-new V8 except to say that the capacity is 4.0 liters. It’s likely to be turbocharged and it will arrive a year after the new Conti is launched next March. The engineers said that the V8 version will still have four-wheel drive.

When it comes to the high luxury sports car segment, the newest engine from Bentley, the twin turbocharged 4.0-liter unit, is able to achieve excellent levels in relation to the power-to-emission ratio. This new engine is fitted not only to the Continental GT V8 coupé but also to the GTC V8 convertible. The V8 engine has a number of features that include thermal management, low friction bearings, and high-pressure direct injection.

It even has energy recuperation made possible through a charging system. An advanced turbo charger packaging is included to result in better efficiency. One highlight of this V8 engine is that it has variable displacement that comes with a rather polished engine management system. When running through a light throttle load, this management system allows for an almost unnoticeable and effortless shift to the V4 mode from a V8. In terms of performance, the V8 engine is able to offer power at 500 bhp (373 kW or 507 PS) possible at 6,000 rpm.

Maximum torque is at 487 lb.-ft. (660 Nm) and available from a low revolution range of 1,700 rpm to as high as 5,000 rpm. These figures show that the V8 engine does deliver the performance and power that many expect from Bentley. This engine is then paired to the automatic 8-speed transmission and with the close ratio, offers maximum speed of at least 180 mph (290 km/h).

Meanwhile it allows for acceleration from 0 mph to 60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in barely 5.0 seconds. Aside from performance, the V8 engine is able to attain remarkable levels when it comes to fuel efficiency, and even CO2 emissions, rarely seen in the luxury performance segment.

While the complete and official figures of the engine are slated to be released sometime in the early part of 2012, the engine allows the Continental models to reach at least 500 miles (800 km) on one full tank of fuel. In terms of CO2 emissions, the new engine is able to exhibit an improvement of 40%.

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