Bentley’s new 500bhp V8 shares ‘over 90 per cent’ of its parts with the Audi version, despite boasting significantly more torque, but fewer horsepower. The power and torque differences are purely down to the different electronic tune of the two versions.
“The advantage of starting the design from the ground-up in conjunction with Audi is that we could both get what we want out of the same design,” says engineering boss Brian Gush.
The key differences are minor ones like the dipstick, oil filler cap and engine cover. Bentley wanted a dipstick so that owners could check their oil, whereas Audi didn’t. So the Hungarian-built V8 is machined to take a dipstick, which Bentley fits at Crewe, while Audi plugs the hole its version doesn't need.
A polished, chrome-look oil filler is also a difference on the Bentley version alongside a Bentley-only, specially insulated engine cover.
The latter is needed because the V8’s twin-turbos are mounted in the vee on top of the engine, with little clearance to the Continental V8’s bonnet skin.
The installations of the V8 in the Continental V8 and Audi RS8/RS6 are also different. Bentley uses its own, two-position switchable active mounts, Audi a different active system. ‘That’s just due to the different NVH requirements in the different bodyshells, particularly with cylinder de-activation,’ says Gush.
Both Bentley and Audi versions use cylinder de-activation, based on the system introduced on the Mulsanne.
While Audi includes a cockpit display to let the driver know when the V8 is running as a four-cylinder, Bentley doesn’t.
The all-alloy V8 is lighter than the W12, reducing the weight in the nose of Continental by 25kg.