Bentley has unveiled new versions of its Continental GT coupe and GTC convertible with reduced CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy.
Both new models come fitted with a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. The unit will sit below the 6.0-litre W12 engine already used by previous models as part of Bentley’s aim to cut CO2 emissions.
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Developed in partnership with Audi, the new engine boasts 500bhp, 67bhp less compared to the W12 engine found in the current standard trim Continental GT. The V8 is also combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel driver powertrain.
How exactly the reduced power output affects performance is not exactly clear, but Bentley says that the 0-60mph acceleration time will be less than five seconds and the car will still have a top speed above 180mph.
With the W12 engine the Continental GT will do the 0-60mph sprint in just 4.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 198mph.
More significantly Bentley says the new V8 fulfils a company goal set three years ago to produce a new powertrain that delivers a 40 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.
Currently the Bentley Continental GT has a recorded combined fuel economy of 17mpg, while CO2 emissions start from 384g/km and rise to 410g/km on certain specifications.
The exact improvement achieved with the new V8 engine remains a mystery at present but Bentley says that it will release the full and official figures in early 2012, revealing specific details.
Some of the fuel saving features on the V8 engine include start-stop engine technology which cuts the engine off when the car is stationary. There is also a cylinder management system where only four of the eight cylinders are used when the car is at cruising speed, reducing wasted fuel.
The V8 Bentley Continental range has received some new distinctive styling tweaks as well. Highlights include a new lower bumper with black air intakes and twin exhaust tailpipes shaped like a ‘figure eight’.
Both the Continental GT and GTC come as standard with 20-inch alloy wheels, which can be replaced with optional 21-inch six spoke designs, painted in either Diamond Silver or Diamond Black; an exclusive for the V8 range.
The two new Continental V8 models will make their public debut at the American International Auto Show in Detroit on 9 January 2012. Bentley is also expected to open order books for the new V8s in the same month, with prices starting from around £120,000.