Bentley has given its Continental GT luxury coupé and convertible grand tourers a distinctly sharper edge with the introduction of the Continental GT V8 S, with lowered and retuned sports suspension, sharper steering, dramatic styling and a distinctive soundtrack from its uprated V8 engine.
They'll be seen in public for the first time at next week's Frankfurt motor show, with customer deliveries to start early in 2014.
The Continental GT's four-litre twin-turbo V8 has been remapped and a more free-flowing exhaust fitted to boost its quoted outputs by 16kW from 373 to 389kW at 6000rpm and by 20Nm from 660 to 680Nm at 1700rpm.
Driving all four wheels via a close-ratio ZF 8-speed automatic transmission and Torsen centre differential, that's good enough to launch the 2.3-tonne coupé from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds, with a top speed of 309km/h, while the 195kg heavier convertible takes 4.5 seconds to 100km/h and tops out at 308km/h.
And, says Bentley, fuel consumption and emissions remains as per the 'standard' version, at 10.6 litres per 100km and 246 grams of CO2 per kilometre for the tintop, and 10.9 litres per 100km and 254g/km for the convertible.
The GT V8 S retains the aluminium double-wishbone front and trapezoidal multi-link rear self-levelling air suspension with continuous damping control that's common to all Continentals, but with a more sporting setup.
The dampers have been shortened to lowered the ride height by 10mm, spring rates increased by 45 percent at the front and 33 percent at the rear, with revised damping and a 54 percent stiffer rear anti-roll bar.
Revised static toe-in and camber settings, together with new software, help improve both precision and steering feedback.
A specially developed body kit - front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser - reduce front-end lift for improved stability at high speeds.
“S” IS ALSO FOR STYLE
in addition to the lowered suspension and body kit, the GT V8 S has a black gloss grille with single chromed divider bar and 'figure of eight' tail pipes, and runs special 20” rims over distinctive, red-painted brake callipers.
Inside, a contrast centre-stripe for the leather-trimmed roof lining matches the colour of the upholstery, and contrast stitching throughout - including on the steering wheel - is available as an option.
Knurled chrome detailing on the gearshift lever and ventilation controls is contrasted by piano black veneer trim, while a discreet 'V8 S' badge is embossed on each sill tread plate.
The optional Mulliner Driving Specification includes 21” seven-spoked Black Edition rims, drilled alloy pedals, a 'jewel' filler cap and a cabin trimmed in diamond-quilted, perforated leather with indented headlining.
Other options include Mulliner dark-tint head and tail lights, and a sports exhaust system with revised silencers and pipe architecture, and re-tuned mountings for a free-breathing system that delivers “a full-blooded V8 sound track”.
We couldn't have said it better.