The appeal of the world's most stylish, luxury grand tourer is enhanced with the introduction of the new, sporting Bentley Continental GT V8 S. Available as both a coupe and convertible, the new GT V8 S models bring added excitement to the Continental range with lowered and retuned sports suspension, sharper steering, dramatic 'S' signature styling cues and a distinctive soundtrack from the uprated V8 engine.
These two new models expand the Continental family and provide an even more engaging driving experience from Bentley's already renowned 4-litre twin-turbo V8 powertrain. The new Bentley Continental GT V8 S Coupe and Convertible will be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Show.
Commenting on the introduction of the two new S models, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors, said: "The Bentley Continental is the definitive grand tourer. Its effortless performance, generous space, handcrafted luxury and all-wheel drive capability take you on a journey in refined style and comfort. Now, for those customers who want even more drama and excitement, the sharper, sporting edge of the new GT V8 S adds a new dimension to the Continental range."
More power, more performance, and a range of 500 miles on a single tank
Building on the success of the acclaimed Continental GT V8, the new GT V8 S models feature a more powerful version of Bentley's high-efficiency 4-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine developing 521 bhp (528 PS / 389 KW) at 6,000 rev/min and an immense peak torque of 680 Nm (502 lb.ft) at a mere 1,700 rev/min.
Delivered via a close-ratio ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, the increased power provides effortless, exhilarating high performance with breath-taking acceleration and imperceptibly smooth power delivery. Switch into S mode via the gear selector and the V8 S rewards the spirited driver with a sharpened throttle response while gears are held for longer with faster shifts.
The GT V8 S coupe dispatches the 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.3 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.5s) onto a top speed of 192 mph (309 km/h). The performance of the GT V8 S convertible is equally impressive, reaching 60 mph from a standing start in 4.5 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.7s) and a top speed of 191mph (308km/h).
The increased performance is achieved without detriment to the V8 engine's class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions, or its ability to cover more than 500 miles (805 km) between fill-ups.
The new GT V8 S coupe returns a combined cycle fuel economy of 26.8 mpg (10.6 l/100km) and CO2 emissions of 246 g/km. The equivalent figures for the convertible are 25.9 mpg (10.9 l/100km) and 254 g/km.
This impressive combination of power, performance and economy is the result of an array of advanced technologies employed in the design of the Bentley V8 engine. Variable displacement, in which four of the eight cylinders shut down when cruising, reduces fuel consumption without any loss of refinement. When more power is required, the engine switches back automatically and seamlessly to the full eight cylinders.
The high-technology V8 engine also features high pressure direct injection, low friction bearings, advanced thermal management, energy recuperation via the electrical charging system and innovative turbocharger packaging for greater efficiency.
The V8 engine's variable displacement system presented a unique challenge for Bentley exhaust engineers. When cruising on a light throttle in 4-cylinder mode, the exhaust system is tuned for refinement while maintaining a distinctive V8 sound. However, under acceleration the character of the system changes dramatically as the twin turbo-charged Bentley V8 transforms into an emotive growl.
A more agile, responsive and involving driving experience
The power and performance of the GT V8 S models are complemented by a range of chassis enhancements which deliver greater agility and a more involving driving experience without compromising the Continental's legendary ride comfort.
The GT V8 S retains the aluminium double-wishbone front and trapezoidal multi-link rear self-levelling air suspension with continuous damping control that is common to all Continental models. For the GT V8 S, there is a more sporting setup with subtly different tunes for Coupe and Convertible. Lowered sports suspension (by 10 mm) is complemented by increased spring rates (45% front, 33% rear) and revised damping for a more engaging and responsive drive. Bush stiffnesses are increased by up to 70%, while the rear anti-roll bar is stiffened by 54% over the standard GT V8 models for improved body control and turn-in. A recalibrated steering system completes the new chassis system, offering both improved precision and feedback through changes to static toe and camber and new software.
Careful recalibration of the Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system ensures minimal degradation in ride comfort despite the gains in handling performance.
The Electronic Stability Control is also optimised for the GT V8 S. The retuned system allows increased wheel slip at higher speeds with engine torque reinstated more quickly after a system intervention. This provides the spirited driver more opportunity to exploit the full potential of the uprated chassis and increased power.
The Lower Body Styling Specification - front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser - benefit aerodynamics by reducing front-end lift and provide greater stability at higher road speeds.
Shared with all Continental models, the all-wheel drive system employs an advanced Torsen differential and a 40:60 rear-biased power split. This ensures the delivery of safe yet dynamic handling in all road conditions.
Distinctive sporting design cues
While the elegant coachwork of the Bentley Continental GT is inspired by iconic Bentleys of the past, its modern, sculpted design, with crisp, highly defined feature lines, is formed using advanced body construction techniques, achieving class-leading standards of quality and body integrity.
For the new 'S models, the design of the Continental takes a more dramatic direction and its enhanced road presence is clear before a wheel is turned. The lowered suspension provides a more sleek and purposeful stance, complemented by unique, lower-body styling including a sharp front splitter, discrete side sills and subtle rear diffuser finished in Beluga gloss. The black gloss radiator grille with single chrome divider bar and 'figure of eight' exhaust tail pipes instantly signify the powerful V8 engine.
The signature 20-inch wheels are unique to the 'S' models with an open-spoke design that reveals distinctive, red-painted brake calipers. Subtle 'V8 S' badges are applied to each front fender, and as with the other members of the Continental V8 family, the famous Bentley Wings badges feature a red centre.
In common with the Continental GT W12, the GT V8 S models are available in the full palette of 17 paint colours, of which seven vibrant hues are specifically recommended by Bentley Design to match the sporting character of the new model. Of these, two shades (Kingfisher Blue and the new Monaco Yellow) are signature colours for the GT V8 S.
Hand-crafted contemporary luxury
The cabin of the Continental GT is renowned for its supreme luxury with soft-touch leathers, wood veneers, polished metals and deep-pile carpeting, hand-crafted in Bentley's unrivalled workshops at the factory in Crewe, England.
The cabin of the 'S' models presents a thoroughly modern interpretation of Bentley luxury in which colour and tone offer further appeal to the senses.
Available with a range of striking duo-tone interiors, customers may also select from the full range of seventeen hide colours. The GT V8 S coupe also features a unique contrast centre-stripe for the hide-trimmed roof lining, matched to the colour of the main hide. Contrast stitching throughout, including to the steering wheel, is also available as an option.
Knurled chrome detailing to the gearshift lever and ventilation controls provide a perfect contrast to the Piano Black veneers which are sanded and lacquered up to 18 times to produce a truly flawless finish. Discreet 'V8 S' badges are displayed on each sill tread plate.
As with all Continental models, the 'S' models include advanced infotainment technology as standard, including an 8-inch touchscreen which displays the car's navigation, audio and telephone systems as well as the ride and comfort settings for the air suspension, all complemented by a 30GB on-board hard drive.
Tailoring the specification
Customers may tailor the specification of the GT V8 S by selecting from a range of optional equipment.
The sports exhaust option features redesigned silencers, revised pipe architecture and re-tuned mountings which result in a free-breathing system that delivers a full-blooded V8 sound track.
The optional Mulliner Driving Specification features 21-inch 7-spoke Black Edition wheels, drilled alloy foot pedals, a 'jewel' filler cap and a cabin trimmed in diamond-quilted, perforated leather with indented headlining. Other key options include Mulliner dark - tint front and rear lights and Beluga gloss door mirrors to match the Lower Body Styling Specification.
Deliveries of the new Bentley Continental V8 S start in early 2014.