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Bentley Switches Things Up, Will Launch Continental GT V8 Ahead of W12 Variant

Pricing for the V-8–powered version was announced, too.

If the third-generation Bentley Continental GT of your dreams has a W12 engine under its broad front hood, you have a little wait ahead of you. The British luxury maker has announced that its V-8 will power the first coupes and convertibles available at the cars' U.S. launch in July of this year. The U.S., in fact, will debut the engine in the new car, as the rest of the world will have to wait until the first quarter of 2020 to get their mitts on the twin-turbo eight, or any new Conti for that matter. The W-12 had been planned as the lead option, but a delay in market certification has been cited as the reason for the switch.

It's not as if it's a big deal; the 4.0-liter V-8 is good for a heady 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. If you think you need the 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of the W-12, well, okay, who are we to try to convince you otherwise? But it's at least worth giving a V-8 model a drive before holding out for four additional cylinders and committing to likely several months of waiting.

First launched in 2003, the contemporary Continental GT model has been a rousing success for Bentley and has only become more powerful, luxurious, and efficient with each new generation. The V-8 is a new design for this third-gen model and features two twin-scroll turbochargers housed in the valley between the two cylinder banks, as well as cylinder-deactivation technology that shuts down four of the eight cylinders under low-load driving conditions. Lest you think the new car is all about efficiency, remember that top speed is claimed at 198 mph and the zero-to-60-mph at 3.9 seconds (or 4.0 seconds for the convertible). For all you trim-spotters, GT V-8 cars receive four exhaust pipes and 'V8' badging on the front fenders. Pricing is slated to start at $198,500 for the V8 coupe and $218,350 for the V8 convertible.

The new Continental GT V8 goes even farther beyond your rich great-uncle's Bentley of yore with hollow front and rear anti-roll bars, a three-chamber air suspension with the Dynamic Ride System, active all-wheel drive, and a whole suite of safety tech, including radar cruise control with stop and go, lane-keep assist, and automatic parking. Opt for the optional Bentley Rotating Display and you can impress your friends down at the yacht club with a center panel that rotates to one of three sides: a 12.3-inch touch screen, three analog gauges, or a wood veneer of your choosing. Bentley celebrates its 100th year in business this July, a milestone it has already marked with a special Mulsanne, a special Continental GT, and surely more cars to come.