Bentley Continental V8 S (2013) at Frankfurt motor show | CAR Magazine

Bentley Continental V8 S (2013) at Frankfurt motor show

Published: 03 September 2013 Updated: 26 January 2015

This is the new Bentley Continental V8 S, set to be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. It’s the Bentley for buyers who don’t want (or can’t afford) the most potent W12 models, but don’t fancy an ‘entry level’ version of the V8 either. It’s got 521bhp, 502lb ft, and will hit 60mph in less than five seconds. Unveiled on the day after the football transfer window slams shut, it’s surely the perfect welcome present for any new Galactico…

>> Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2013 Frankfurt motor show

How does the Continental V8 S compare to the regular Bentley Continental?

The standard V8 model puts out 500bhp and 487lb ft. The V8 S’s upgrades are enough to see it to 60mph in 0.1sec faster than the regular car: 4.5sec for the coupe and 4.7sec for the mechanically identical GTC drop-top.

A racier S-mode holds onto ratios in the eight-speed automatic transmission for longer, and completes gearshifts themselves faster than the standard Conti V8. Throttle response is also honed for a sportier feel, underlining that this is the most driver-focused Bentley since the stripped-out Supersports run-out version of the old car.

Despite the extra power, and the ability to travel at 191mph (the standard car’s top speed is a measly 188mph), Bentley claim the 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 suffers no adverse effects to its eco ego, which stands at 26.7mpg, and 246g/km. The cabrio manages 25.9mpg and 254g/km – weigh that on your conscience next time you fancy a suntan while driving your Bentley soft-top.

As before, under light throttle, one bank of cylinders goes to sleep, cutting fuel consumption at low speeds. The Audi RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback, which both employ an even more potent 552bhp version of the same engine, also boast this ‘moonlight as a four-pot’ party piece. Bentley says its engineers have worked to tune the exhaust note to sound like a V8 even when the motor switches to 2.0-litre, in-line four mode. Alternatively, just put your foot down, you pansy…

Just an engine tune-up?

No, there’s a 10mm ride height drop, 45% stiffer springs up front, and a 33% stiffness increase at the rear. Roll bars and bushes are also uprated for keener turn-in and better body control, while the steering’s been recalibrated too. Despite the chassis tweaks, Bentley reassures buyers that a reworking of its Continuous Damping Control adaptive ride system ensures means that there’s no change in ride comfort.

The stability control has also been tweaked, no allowing more wheel-slip before and letting you back on the power sooner after intervention. Essentially, you’ll be able to powerslide the V8 S further and faster than any Conti before it, even if all-wheel drive with a 40:60 front/rear torque split is retained. Copious grunt and grip, then – no excuse for missing winter training, prima donnas of the Premier League…

Anything else?

A new front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser and gloss black radiator grille are the main visual clues. V8 S Contis also ride on bespoke 20in wheels, though 21s do feature on the enormous options list, which also includes a sports exhaust, quilted leather upholstery, and a ‘jewel’ fuel-filler cap.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish