Bentley sharpens the Continental GT V8 with new S models
British luxury car gets more power, stiffer suspension, aggressive looks.
Suppose you don't quite have the money to buy a Bentley Continental GT with its throbbing W12 engine, but you don't want to settle for the mere 500 horsepower offered by the Continental GT V8.
It's a difficult problem that we're sure keeps you awake at night, but Bentley has just announced what might be the solution to all of your sleepless nights: It's called the Continental GT “S,” and it’s a sharper take on the standard V8 car. You can think of it as a GT Speed for the hopelessly underfunded.
You can have yours in either coupe or convertible form, and the thing is, the GT S models are said to be different enough in character that you might actually be able to convince the neighbors you bought yours on purpose. You're simply edgier and racier than they are – not poorer.
- Photo gallery: Bentley Continental GT S coupe, convertible
- Continental GT Speed convertible debuts in Detroit
- Bentley reveals Continental GT3 race car
The Continental GT S rides 10 millimeters lower to the ground on a stiffer suspension setup, and even the bushings are up to 70 percent stiffer than those on the standard car. While the front suspension has received more of a bump in stiffness than the rear – a 45 percent increase versus 33 percent – there's a 54 percent beefier anti-roll bar in the back.
The steering is sharper, too, and it's not just a software thing; there are also changes in static toe and camber. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine has been tweaked to deliver 21 more horsepower, for a total of 521, and still connects to ZF’s awesome 8-speed automatic transmission, this time gearing the Continental to a claimed 4.5-second zero-to-60-mph time and a top speed of 191 mph.
Finally, the Continental GT S looks cooler than your neighbor’s W12, thanks to a front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser. Unique 20-inch wheels serve to further differentiate the S models, as do two proprietary colors: Kingfisher Blue and Monaco Yellow.
The tweaks don’t affect gas mileage much; you’ll still be able to pull off a frankly amazing 24 mpg highway and a not so amazing 15 mpg city thanks to the usual tricks, such as cylinder deactivation. No word yet on cost, but if you want to be among the first to have a look in person, go check it out at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. You can afford the first-class flight, right?
[Sources: Bentley Motors; Photo: Bentley Motors]
Darn, think I'll just trot over to my local Bentley dealer and pick one of those puppies up. Just what I've been looking for. Wonder what they'll give me in trade for my Honda.
At it's essence, this is what a full-size touring sports coupe is all about; bold, beautiful and luxurious yet agile and amazingly quick. For those fortunate enough to afford a chariot like this, it seems like it would be worth every penny.
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