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by Tim Beissmann

The Bentley Continental V8 has been revealed ahead of its world premiere at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

Bentley Motors regional manager southeast Asia and Australasia Ed Striebig confirmed order books for the V8-powered Continental GT coupe and GTC convertible variants would open after next month’s unveiling, with the first vehicles to arrive in Australia around July/August.

Striebig said he could not give an indication of pricing at this stage, but admitted the Continental V8 would not be more expensive than the 6.0-litre W12 variants, suggesting a potential starting price below $400,000.

He said Australians had already shown “quite a lot of interest” in the Continental V8, and said the emotional appeal of the V8 engine was strong in our market. “We’re quietly confident it will be a highly successful model for us in Australia,” Striebig said.

The 2012 Bentley Continental V8 is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine producing 373kW of power and 660Nm of torque (1700-5000rpm). Teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the V8 models accelerate from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds and have a top speed in excess of 290km/h.

Cylinder displacement technology allows the engine run on four cylinders under light throttle load, which Bentley says helps it achieve its environmental commitment to produce a new powertrain that delivers a 40 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

The 423kW/700Nm W12 Continental GT sculls 16.5 litres of fuel per 100km, but the V8 variant promises to be closer to 10 litres/100km.

Continental V8s are distinguished by their black gloss matrix grilles, restyled three-part lower intakes, ‘figure eight’ tailpipes, dark lower skirting and red enamel ‘B’ badges.

Inside, the new variants get Eliade cloth headliners, Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneers and an optional two-tone leather colour split.

Bentley has enjoyed a strong year in 2011 in Australia, with 56 new vehicles delivered in the first 11 months, marking an eight per cent increase on 2010.




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