As if the Bentley Continental GT V8 isn't fast enough, the British carmaker is introducing the higher-performance 'S' variants for both the coupe and convertible models, bridging the gap between the V8 and the W12-equipped cars.
"The Bentley Continental is the definitive grand tourer," said company chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Schreiber. "Its effortless performance, generous space, handcrafted luxury and all-wheel-drive capability take you on a journey in refined style and comfort. Now, for those customers who want even more drama and excitement, the sharper, sporting edge of the new GT V8 S adds a new dimension to the Continental range."
The Continental GT V8 S models feature a more powerful version of Bentley's 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine that develops 521hp and 680Nm of torque. Paired to a close-ratio ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, the increased power enables the GT V8 S coupe to sprint from rest to 100kph in 4.5 seconds before reaching its 309kph top speed, while the GT V8 S convertible achieves both tasks in 4.7 seconds and at 308kph.
Despite the increased performance, the coupe has a combined fuel economy of 9.434km/L and the convertible with 9.174km/L. According to Bentley, this is achieved through variable displacement, "in which four of the eight cylinders shut down when cruising, reducing fuel consumption without any loss of refinement." When more power is required, the engine switches back automatically and seamlessly to the full eight cylinders.
The GT V8 S retains the aluminum double-wishbone front and trapezoidal multilink rear self-leveling air suspension that is common to all Continental models, although it supposedly has a more sporting setup with subtly different tunes for the coupe and the convertible.
Besides the mechanical updates, the GT V8 S also sports a front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser that reduce front-end lift and provide greater stability at higher road speeds.
The Bentley Continental V8 S officially goes on sale in early 2014.