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Bentley and Audi Teaming Up on 4.0-Liter V8 Engine

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On: Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 3:12PM | By: Chris Weiss


Bentley and Audi Teaming Up on 4.0-Liter V8 Engine

If you take a look at a list of the 10 or so least efficient cars in America, you'll see the name "Bentley" pop up more than once. The 2010 Bentley Continental GT, for instance, brings home just 11 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. When you make cars stacked with luxurious accents (read: weight) and powered with giant W12 engines, you're bound to find yourself on that uncoveted list.

With U.S. and global fuel economy regulations clamping down over the next few years, Bentley will need to find a way to cut its emissions. Toward that end, Bentley is working with Volkswagen stablemate Audi on a new engine that will help it cut its embarrassingly large footprint.

The new engine is direct-injected 4.0-liter V8 to be used in both Bentley and Audi models. So far the only model being mentioned is the dirty, ol' Continental GT, which currently uses a 6.0-liter W12 to deliver the aforementioned EPA figures. Bentley plans to offer the V8 option on the Continental GT toward the end of next year and indicates that the smaller, cleaner V8 will cut emissions by 40 percent over the W12.

Bentley's director of chassis and powertrain Brian Gush assured future Continental owners that the new engine will still deliver the Bentley experience. He told auto guide Whatcar: "We are adapting it for our purposes so that it delivers Bentley driving characteristics. It does not have a conventional layout."

Missing from the conversation are any output figures or word on whether the powerplant will be turbocharged. Outside of "high-performance models," it's also unclear what Audi models will benefit from the new engine.

The 2011 Bentley Continental GT made its world debut last week at the Paris Motor Show. That model features the same big engine as the 2010 version, albeit slightly tuned. The W12 in the 2011 Continental GT adds a little horsepower (567 hp over 552 hp) while boosting efficiency to an estimated 12/19 mpg. When Bentley first introduced the new Continental GT on September 7, it mentioned plans to offer the 4.0-liter V8 version in the fourth quarter of 2011. It will be a flex-fuel engine capable of using E85 ethanol.

In Paris, Bentley announced the U.S. base price of the new Continental GT will be $189,900 when it goes on sale in the first quarter of next year. The V8 version will be slightly less expensive, but Bentley has yet to issue a price.


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