V8-powered 318km/h Bentley Continental GT breaks cover
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As the world starts to focus more on emissions and fuel consumption, the once mighty 12-cylinder engine is having its role in the motoring space minimised. And the latest brand to reaffirm the trend is Bentley.
The manufacturer confirmed overnight that its popular Continental GT will again soon be offered with a V8 engine option. Specifically, its a 4.0-litre twin-turbo unit capable of producing 405kW of power, 770Nm of torque, and a top speed of 318km/h.
That's 31kW and 110Nm more than the engine it replaces. And yes, Bentley have confirmed that it has a burbling heart-melting exhaust note.
Naturally the W12 produces more power and speed than the new V8, with peak power, torque, and top speed sitting at 467kW, 900Nm, and 333km/h respectively. But the point here is that, unlike the previous V8 models, this new beast almost has the guts to match its big sibling.
There's an unspoken benefit here beyond the superior economy and cheaper price (although keep in mind pricing has yet to be announced for the New Zealand market).
That benefit is lighter weight. Yes, that might not be the first thing that potential luxury GT-car buyers look for, but less weight over the front wheels has prompted many car critics to say that small-engined performance models are more fun than those with more powerful, more heavy engines.
The best recent example of this the Aston Martin DB11, with many pointing towards the V8 when asked which model is the best driver's car. Similar views have often been held with the Mazda MX-5, which has a 1.5-litre model and a 2.0-litre model in its line-up.
Bentley don't outline what weight differences there are between the V8 and the W12 in their press release on the matter, but they do point out that "excellent weight distribution" is one of the V8 model's key attributes.
There's other tricks, too. The new V8 comes with cylinder de-activation technology that switches from eight cylinders to four in "suitable conditions" (aka, urban commuting). The switch from one cylinder arrangement is said to take just 20 milliseconds.
The first V8 Continental GTs are set to land in early 2020, with the W12 model only just arriving in New Zealand last month.