Luxury speed: Bentley Continental GT V8 S targets the Rolls-Royce Wraith

Bentley Continental GT V8 S 10

Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible

Bentley believes the Continental defines the grand tourer as it is effortless, generous, and luxurious. Now, however, Bentley has added “sharp” and “sporty” to the Continental’s credentials with the new Continental GT V8 S Coupe and Continental GT V8 S Convertible. Why has the Bentley built yet another Continental variant? We figure it’s a response to the forthcoming Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Admittedly, the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, what does roll quite readily off the tongue is the GT V8 S’ specs: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8; 521 horsepower; 502 pound-feet; 4.3-second 0-60; 192 mph top speed. Those feel very good to say, don’t they?

Remember, though, this is a Bentley after all, so the Continental GT V8 S isn’t a hard-riding British rocket. It can play in both the sporting and bespoke motoring worlds. In “Normal” mode, the eight-speed ZF close-ratio automatic transmission offers, as Bentley puts it, “imperceptibly smooth power delivery.” Put the shifter down into ‘S’ Mode and the GT V8 S ramps up throttle response, holds transmission gears into the higher rev range, and also sharpens up shifts.

Power is sent to all four wheels through a permanent all-wheel drive system with a 40:60 rear bias. This means your Bentley will feel unperturbed and planted in all weather conditions without losing the driving dynamics of a rear-drive sports coupe.

With 521 horsepower pumping from a big, heavy four-wheel drive luxury convertible, you might expect fuel economy in the low teens range, right? Not in the GT V8 S. Engineers worked tirelessly to ensure the twin-turbo 4.0 V8 offered unparalleled levels of power but without needlessly poisoning the planet. Bentley has pegged the combined fuel economy at 26.8 mpg and the CO2 emissions at a staggeringly low 246 g/km.

Engineers achieved this by allowing for cylinder deactivation. When all eight pistons aren’t needed, the car will shut down four of the eight cylinders.

Worried your V8 luxury GT car will sound wimpy when it’s running on four of the eight cylinders? Don’t you fret; Bentley tuned the exhaust so that during four-cylinder mode, the engine would still sound like a growling, muscle-y V8.

Bentley will officialy unveil the Continental GT V8 S in the flesh at next week’s Frankfurt Auto Show. Be sure to check back for all our Frankfurt coverage.

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