The Bentley Continental GT family has grown a fair bit since its original, W12-powered form. First there was the GT Speed, also with 12-cylinders, but with more power than the standard car. Then there was the mad Conti Supersports that broke the ice speed world record. Moving into the heavily revised second-generation model, the new Conti GT and Speed models were joined by a cheaper V8 variant.
The Continental GT V8 has always been seen as the more athletic sibling of the family, offering more driving thrills over the more GT-like W12 models. In time for Frankfurt 2013, there’s a new addition to the clan – a quicker and even more focussed V8 model christened the Bentley Continental GT V8 S. Now that’s a mouthful.
Available as both a coupe and convertible (Conti GTC V8 S), the new model sports lowered and retuned suspension, sharper steering, updated ‘S’ signature styling cues and a re-profiled soundtrack from the uprated Audi-sourced 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine.
Outputs are up by 21 hp and 20 Nm, to 521 hp at 6,000 rpm and 680 Nm of torque at 1,700 rpm. Through a close-ratio ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, the V8 S coupe dispatches the 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.5 seconds, on to a top speed of 309 km/h. That’s a 0.3 second and 6 km/h improvement over the standard V8 coupe.
The convertible isn’t far behind, with respective figures of 4.7 seconds and 308 km/h, up from the non-S GTC V8’s 4.9 seconds and 302 km/h. Even with more performance, the new models’ fuel economy and CO2 emissions remain class-leading, with a touring range of more than 805 km between fill-ups.
To put the extra power to good use, lowered sports suspension (by 10 mm) is fitted, along with increased spring rates, revised damping and stiffer bushes and anti-roll bars. A re-calibrated Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system, meanwhile, ensures minimal degradation in ride comfort despite the gains in handling performance.
Also packed in is an uprated steering system with improved precision and feedback, as well as an optimised S-specific ESC system that allows more wheel slip with less intervention. Even when the latter does jump into action, the engine torque is reinstated more quickly than before through the Torsen all-wheel drive system.
Finishing up the changes are subtle exterior enhancements, including a sharp front splitter, side sill extensions and a black rear diffuser. The signature 20-inch wheels are unique to the new model, as are the V8 S badges on the front fenders. All the standard Conti GT V8 features – gloss black grille with a single chrome divider, Bentley Wings badges with a red centre and ‘figure of eight’ tail pipes – are present too.