What is it?
This is not a transformation – a Bentley GT3 for the road, if you will – alhough all the rumours suggest that car is in the development pipeline. Instead, this is a typically subtle but thorough working over of what was already here. If you think of it as a GTC V8 that spends the small hours pumping iron in the gym, you’ll have the right kind of idea. And like any good workout programme, every important part has been toned and tuned.
The easy bit was the engine. A line or two of software in an ECU has instructed the turbos of the 4.0-litre V8 to blow a little harder and there’s another 21bhp straight away, bringing the total to 521bhp. There has also been some minor reprogramming of the eight-speed ZF autobox to suit the new power curve.
What took the time – and it was an 18-month programme – was getting the suspension tune right. The car is 10mm lower but that’s barely the start. The front air springs are 45 per cent stiffer, while the rears go up by just 33 per cent but are balanced by a rear anti-roll bar that’s over half as stiff again.
The dampers have been reprogrammed, too, to dial in both more bump and rebound control, while all the bush rates have also gone up, those on the lower front suspension arms by 70 per cent. And the ESP has been reprogrammed to allow the car to get just that little bit more out of shape before concluding there’s an idiot at the wheel.
In terms of parts that determine how the car performs, the only items left unchanged are the vast iron discs (carbon-ceramics are optional), because they’re already good enough for the 616bhp GT Speed.
Visually you’ll know it’s an S by the slightly naff badges on the wings, the deeper front spoiler, new side skirts and rear diffuser, and fresh wheel and colour options. All the usuals you’d expect, in other words.