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

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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.

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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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