2012 Bentley Continental GT V8
Bentley is one brand that knows a thing or two about automotive excess and excellence, but the 2012 Bentley Continental GT V8 looks to be more responsible than previous efforts, thanks to a new twin-turbo V8 based on the potent engine from the Audi S8.
At 4 liters, it manages 40% better fuel economy than the 6-liter W12. Additional MPG gains come from direct injection, variable displacement, and a quicker shifting, close ratio 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s not all “green” however with a still stout 500-horsepower, which moves this 5,000-pound brute to 60 in the mid 4-second range. The new V8 sounds way better at full throttle than the W12 ever did, and hydraulic engine mounts help keep the V8 vibrations at bay, for that smooth Bentley feel we’re accustomed to. As before, all Continentals are all-wheel-drive.
Thankfully, the Continental’s sexy sheet-metal stays mostly intact. V8 models are set apart by a more aggressive front fascia sporting a gloss-finished grille with chrome trim and a red Bentley “B.” Standard wheels are 20-inches in diameter, with 21’s optional. Out back, there’s a new lower valance with trick dual exhaust tips. That luxurious Bentley interior has also take a sportier turn with new a new cloth headliner, darker wood trim, and a slightly re-designed center console. Our first opportunity to get up close and personal with the GT V8 came near Madrid, Spain.
STEVEN CHUPNICK: It's the subtle visual changes that make the V8 a little different than the W12, like the Blacked out grill and the figure eight dual exhaust. But it's the feeling behind the wheel that really makes this different, whether you're driving 100 miles around the track or 30 miles an hour on the city road, this GT is a beast.
Weighing 55 pounds lighter than the W12, even in sharp corners our staffer found the GT V8 to be impressively balanced and ready for a quick exit. Both Coupe and Convertible Continental GT V8's will be available. Pricing hasn’t been announced just yet, but we expect it to fall below W12 models, which would put it around $175,000. For what it’s worth, they will be the least expensive cars in the Bentley lineup. And we’ll have more new sets of car keys available soon.
Engine: Twin-turbo V8
Price: Around $175,000