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Bentley Continental GT V8 unveiled

Mon, 12 Dec 2011

Bentley Continental GT V8 - heading for a debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

The Bentley Continental GT V8 debut is at the Detroit Auto Show in January, but Bentley has revealed their new V8 in GT and GTC guise this morning.

The Bentley Continental GT V8, and for that matter the Continental GTC V8, are Bentley’s nod to the more constrained times in which we are living. Well, constrained is relative, but all car makers need to be seen to be cutting emissions and improving economy now the technology is there to do it.

And if you’re going to downsize to make your cars more economical and less emitting, a new V8 isn’t a bad way to go.

The V8 in the Continental GT, and its drop top GTC sibling, is the new engine developed with Audi. In the GT V8 it gets 500bhp and 487lb/ft of torque from its compact 4.0 litres, which Bentley say improves fuel economy and emissions by 40 per cent over the W12. Despite that, it still scoots to 60mph in under 5 seconds and on to 180mph.

Interestingly, Bentley has decided the V8 GT Continentals will get red enamelled badges which previously have only appeared on its performance models, despite the V8 GT being less powerful. Still, the V8 range is obviously intended to be perceived as the sporty Continental option.

Sporty or not, the GT V8 gets plenty of technology to keep emissions and fuel economy in check. There’s direct injection, variable displacement (the GT V8 can turn in to a GT V4 under light throttle loads), 8-speed gearbox, energy recuperation and a more efficient turbo.

Cosmetically the V8 GT and V8 GTC get 20″ alloys (21″ option), exhaust tailpipes in a figure eight shape, black gloss matrix grill with chrome surround, a black matrix three section lower front bumper and the aforementioned red enamel badges. Inside there’s a cloth headlining and and  Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneers with optional two-tone leather and a short console.

Just like the W12 GTs, the V8 GT and GTC get full time 4WD with a 40|60 rear biased torque split, but the change to V8 sacrifices little in performance but offer lots of economies in return. Bentley aren’t saying exactly what the emissions and economy are like on the V8, but they do say the new V8s will do over 500 miles on a tank. So think in terms of 25mpg.

The Bentley Continental GT V8 and Continental GTC V8 will make their public debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

(9 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)

By Cars UK