We’ve known Bentley was busy preparing a new twin-turbocharged V-8 for its Continental model line, but the automaker released the first official details and photos of the new Continental V-8 range this morning.
Bentley’s latest engine offering is a twin-turbocharged, direct-injection, 4.0-liter V-8. The engine was co-developed with corporate cousin Audi, which uses it in the latest S6, S7, and S8 models. In Audi guise, the 4.0-liter produces anywhere between 414- and 513 hp, but the Continental-spec engine falls between those figures. Bentley says peak output is 500 hp at 6000 rpm, while max torque – which is delivered between 1700- and 5000 rpm – is a stout 487 lb-ft.
Bentley says the new Continental V-8 range – which is presently offered only in GT coupe and GTC convertible forms – allows it to “widen the appeal of the latest generation of Continentals,” but the rationale behind add the V-8 to the range undoubtedly lies with improving Bentley’s corporate fuel economy and CO2 emission figures. Direct fuel injection and reduced internal friction certainly help improve efficiency, as does a cylinder deactivation function, which allows the engine to run on only four cylinders when under light load. Continental V-8 models also utilize a new eight-speed automatic, which is allegedly six percent more efficient than the W-12’s six-speed gearbox.
Fuel economy figures have yet to be released, but Bentley says the V-8 reduces the Continental’s thirst for premium fuel by about 40 percent. If true, expect the car to return somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 mpg in the city, and 27 mpg on the highway – impressive figures for a car that likely tips the scales at close to 5000 pounds.
Apart from engine and transmission, Continental V-8 cars differ from their twelve-cylinder siblings by way of a few cosmetic details. V-8 models boast a black matrix grille and lower air intake insert, emblems with a red enamel background, a dark lower rear valance panel, and exhaust tips shaped like figure-eights. A new two-tone leather scheme, along with a new eucalyptus veneer trim, is unique to the V-8 cars, which also make do with a shortened center console design.
Expect further details on the V-8 to emerge closer to the official unveiling at the Detroit show itself. Stay tuned to Automobile Magazine for all the latest news and happenings from the Detroit show.