What is it?
For a company with some of the most bling-friendly customers on earth, Bentley has always taken a delightfully understated approach to often quite dramatic engineering changes.
Look at this, the new Continental GT V8 S. The name has just an additional ‘S’ and the looks are enhanced by just a mildly revised front grille, a new chin spoiler, reprofiled side skirts and a different rear diffuser. But miss the V8 S badge on the side and you might miss also that this is Bentley’s best Continental yet, and by some margin.
Bentley has almost started again with the suspension and has taken 18 months to do it, the aim being to sharpen up the Continental GT for all those customers who continue to tell Bentley they want more fun.
So, the power of the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 has been tickled up from 500 to 521bhp, the 0-62mph time cut from 4.8 to 4.5sec and its top speed raised from 188 to 192mph.
It’s understandable that much of the focus will fall on the additional engine power, but in fact it’s the suspension changes that are far more interesting, because this is far more than a stiffer set of springs. The Bentley's ride height has been dropped by 10mm; the front spring rate has also been increased by a massive 45 per cent and the rear by ‘only’ 33 per cent.
You’d think this would encourage understeer, but Bentley has also made the rear anti-roll bar more than half as stiff again but left the front bar unchanged, so the car is actually more eager to turn in. With ESP additionally reprogrammed to delay its activation, a more neutral handling stance has been achieved.