The V8 range of the latest Bentley Continental has been enhanced with a new top version that adds the letter “S” to the model’s name. Available as both a coupe and convertible, the Continental GT V8 S come with the most powerful version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine, rated at 521 hp (528PS) and 680 Nm (502 lb-ft) of torque. That is 21 hp (27PS) and 20 Nm (15 lb-ft) more than the standard Continental GT V8.
The engine is linked to a close-ratio ZF 8-speed automatic transmission fitted with an S mode that sharpens throttle response, holds gears for longer and shifts quicker. Naturally, more power brings increased performance, as the GT V8 S coupe sprints from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.3 seconds (half a second quicker than the standard model) and reaches a top speed of 309 km/h (192 mph). At 4.7 seconds, the GT V8 S convertible is slightly slower to 100 km/h, while top speed is rated at 308 km/h (191 mph).
Bentley says the increase in performance doesn’t affect the V8 unit’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions, or its 500-mile (805km) driving range. The coupe’s EU cycle average fuel consumption is rated at 10.6 l/100 km (26.8 mpg UK/22.2 mpg US), while the convertible returns 10.9 l/100 km (25.9 mpg UK/21.6 mpg US). CO2 emissions are 246 g/km and 254 g/km respectively.
Bentley engineers also worked on the car’s handling, with GT V8 S models featuring a lowered sports suspension (by 10mm/0.39in), increased spring rates and revised damping. The steering system was recalibrated, as was the Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system, which ensures “minimal degradation in ride comfort despite the gains in handling performance,” according to the British firm. Furthermore, the Electronic Stability Control allows increased wheel slip at higher speeds with engine torque reinstated more quickly after a system intervention.
Cosmetically, the GT V8 S comes with unique lower-body trim including a new front splitter, side sills and a rear diffuser finished in Beluga gloss, plus a black gloss radiator grille with single chrome divider bar and “figure of eight” exhaust pipes. Other distinguishing features are the unique open-spoke design 20-inch wheels and subtle “V8 S” badges on the front fenders. On the inside, discreet “V8 S” badges are placed on each sill tread plate.
The new Continental V8 S will be revealed on September 10 at Bentley’s Frankfurt Motor Show stand, with deliveries scheduled to start in early 2014.
By Dan Mihalascu