Bentley launches ‘downsized’ Continental GT V8 at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 10, 2012

While automakers in the world are downsizing, Bentley is offering a 500-hp V8 as the solution to the more stringent fuel-economy and emissions regulations. This month, the British luxury vehicle manufacturer has launched the Continental GT and GTC variants with eight-cylinder power at the Detroit Auto Show. The twin-turbo engines pump out 500 hp and displace 4.0 liters. They also produce 487 lb-ft of torque.

The vehicles are anticipated to sprint to 60 mph in less than five seconds. It is also anticipated to record a top speed of at least 180 mph. With a variable-displacement feature, the engines run on four cylinders when less power is needed. They will be combined with a close-ratio eight-speed gearbox.

The automaker claims that the V8 variants will have a range of at least 500 miles on a tank of fuel. Furthermore, the engines match the W12 powerplants, which pump out 516 lb-ft and 567 hp. Styling hints for the V8 models include a gloss matrix grille bordered by figure-eight, chrome exhaust pipes. The company also offers another V8, which produces 505 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque and displaces 6.75 liters, on the Mulsanne.

V8-powered Continentals will be available with 20-inch alloy wheels, with 21-inchers as option. They will also have a three-segment bumper with a lower rear valance and black air intakes. The automobiles are available in seven exterior colors. The cabin is marked by a eucalyptus veneer, available in four colors.

The interior of the new Continental GT and GTC V8 models continues the sporting design theme seen on the exterior. This was achieved by employing an Eliade cloth headlining, new contemporary Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneers and short center console, as well as an optional two-tone leather color split.

The V8 versions of the Continental GT and GTC will be slotted below Bentley’s Continental GT and GTC and powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0 liter W12 Continental engine that develops up to 631bhp (640PS) of output.

Both GT and GTC V8 models are fitted with an all-wheel drive system with an advanced Torsen differential as well as a 40:60 rear biased power split – thereby making sure that these premium vehicles offer dynamic sports car handling in any road condition. Since Bentley introduced the original GT in 2003, the carmaker has sold over 50,000 examples of the Continental W12.

This means Bentley's Crewe facility in England could be considered as the largest global manufacturer of 12-cylinder engines. After all, the W12 engine is still the ultimate expression of the brand’s vaunted engineering prowess.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, quipped that the new 4.0-liter V8 engine should widen the appeal of the latest generation of Continental vehicles as this powerplant should allow for a new driving experience.

Bentley’s CEO added that the new engine – donning the Bentley wings -- features the exhilarating power and performance that customers could expect from a V8 engine, as delivered with the brand’s 'wave of torque' trait and complemented by a state-of-the-art powertrain technology that allows the new Continental models to deliver terrific fuel efficiency and emissions.

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