2012 Bentley Continental GT V8

Bentley has at last debuted its latest beast at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The Continental GT V8 arrived in the Motor City boasting a new compact 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 under its hood. With 500 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque on tap, the ultra-luxury coupe offers buyers heaps of performance in an efficient package. Well, efficient by Bentley standards, anyway. The company says the Continental GT V8 has an effective range of 500 miles, which translates to roughly 21 mpg. That's not a Prius-besting figure by any stretch, but it's far from embarrassing given the globe-spinning amount of power on tap.

Much of that efficiency comes from the fact that the 4.0-liter V8 makes use of cylinder deactivation when the driver maintains speed or decelerates. The engine automatically drops to four-cylinder power in those situations, though the remaining cylinders pick up the instant the driver tips into the throttle.

Bentley says the Conti V8 can jump to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 188 mph thanks in part to its eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system. The company also says the Continental GT V8 and the Continental GTC V8 will be sold right alongside the standard Continental GT models with their more potent W12 engine. Click past the jump for the full press release.
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THE NEW BENTLEY CONTINENTAL V8 RANGE

- New Continental GT and GTC V8 models will debut at the North American International Auto Show, Detroit (January 2012)
- Exceptional power-to-emissions ratio combined with classic Bentley power and torque from new 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine
- Fulfils Bentley's environmental commitment to a new powertrain delivering a 40 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions
- Advanced technologies include direct injection, variable displacement, new close-ratio 8-speed transmission and all wheel-drive
- New Continental V8 model range complements the flagship 6.0 litre W12 GT and GTC

(Crewe 12th December, 2011) Two new Bentley Continental V8 models will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on 9th January 2012.

The new 4.0 litre, twin turbocharged V8 Continental GT coupé and GTC convertible achieve exceptional standards for power-to-emissions in the high luxury sports car sector.

This remarkable, new Bentley V8 engine delivers maximum power of 500bhp (507PS/373Kw) at 6000 rev/min and an extraordinary peak torque of 660Nm (487 lb ft) which is available across virtually the entire rev range from 1700 to 5000 rev/min, providing exhilarating performance and effortless power delivery in the Bentley tradition. Combined with a new close-ratio 8-speed automatic transmission, this translates into a sub-5 second acceleration time for the 0-60 mph (0-100km/h) sprint and a top speed of over 180mph (290km/h).

At the same time, the new V8 Continental models achieve outstanding levels of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions for the luxury performance sector and are capable of travelling over 500 miles (800km) on a single tank of fuel. Full and official figures will be released in early 2012.

The arrival of the new V8 Continental models fulfils Bentley's environmental commitment to produce a new powertrain that delivers a 40 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

The new V8 engine features variable displacement with a highly sophisticated engine management system, ensuring a seamless and imperceptible transition from V8 to V4 mode under light throttle load.

The high-technology V8 also features high pressure direct injection, low friction bearings, thermal management, energy recuperation via the charging system, and innovative turbo charger packaging for greater efficiency.

The instantly recognisable growl of the new 4.0 litre V8 engine sets it apart from its Bentley stablemates.

The new V8 engine will be available in two models; the Continental GT and the Continental GTC. Expressing their potent, muscular character, these models are distinguished by a black gloss matrix grille with chrome frame and centre bar, a red enamel Bentley 'B' badge, and a black matrix three-segment lower front bumper divided by distinctive body-coloured strakes.

At the rear, unique chromed 'figure eight' exhaust tailpipes, a dark lower valance and red enamel 'B' bootlid badge emphasise the sporty, contemporary identity of the new V8s.

Both models are specified with 20-inch alloy wheels as standard with an optional 21-inch six-spoke design which is available in dramatic Diamond Black (exclusive to the Continental V8) or Diamond Silver finishes.

Inside the cabin, an Eliade cloth headlining, new contemporary Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneers, optional two-tone leather colour split and short centre console continue the fresh, sporting design theme.

The two new Continental models will be offered beneath the flagship 6.0 litre,12-cylinder engined Continental GT and GTC, which continue to excite customers with a combination of silken refinement and the ultimate power of the twin-turbocharged W12 Continental engine that, in its most potent form, delivers an astonishing 631bhp (640PS).

Both new models feature a state-of-the-art, all-wheel drive system employing an advanced Torsen differential and a 40:60 rear biased power split. This ensures safe yet dynamic sports car handling in all road conditions.

Since the launch of the original GT in 2003, the W12-engined Continental range has gone from strength to strength with over 50,000 sales worldwide, making Bentley's factory in Crewe, England, the largest producer of 12 cylinder engines in the world. The W12 story continues to unfold and remains the ultimate expression of Bentley's engineering strength.

Commenting on the launch of the new V8 Continental models, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors said:

"With the new 4.0 litre V8 engine we are widening the appeal of the latest generation of Continentals, introducing a completely new driving experience. The new engine will have all the exhilarating power, drama and performance you would expect from a V8 engine sporting the famous Bentley wings, effortlessly delivered with our characteristic 'wave of torque'. This is complemented by innovative powertrain technology that delivers exceptional fuel efficiency and emissions."

THE NEW CONTINENTAL V8 MODELS

Distinctive sporting style
Gloss black matrix grille with bright chrome surround and divider
Three-segment lower bumper with black air intakes and striking body-coloured dividers
Dark rear lower valance
Distinctive twin 'figure eight' exhaust tailpipes
Red enamel Bentley winged 'B' badges above the front grille, to the bootlid and wheel centres
7 exterior colours offered in standard range

Sporty, contemporary interior
New Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneer unique to the V8 models
Eliade cloth headlining and pillar trim
Short centre console in place of W12 through-console
4 hide colours offered in standard range
Unique two-tone leather colour split
3 hood colours (Continental GTC)

Exhilarating, efficient new 4.0 litre V8 engine
Exceptional power-to-emissions ratio reflecting engine efficiency
Variable displacement (a technology first proven on the Mulsanne) imperceptibly cuts 4 cylinders on cruise and light throttle
Switchable engine mounts ensure refinement
Engine optimisation technologies boost efficiency
New, close-ratio, 8-speed transmission offers 6 per cent efficiency gain with ultra-fast shifts
Turbochargers mounted within 'V' for efficiency and fast response
Over 500 miles (800km) range on one tank of fuel
Distinctive V8 growl
All-wheel drive system with 40:60 rear biased torque split

To see the latest Continental V8 film please go to www.youtube.com/bentleymotors.