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New car: Bentley Continental GT

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New V8 and W12 engines promise 40% improvement in efficiency, while aluminium body panels reduce weight.

After seven years with the previous generation, Bentley has finally called time on the old Continental GT, and the gauntlet will be handed over to this new iteration in the coming months. Although it's more of an evolution than a completely new car, Crewe's super GT shares no exterior panels with it's predecessor, and will bring much needed reductions in CO2 to Bentley's line-up.

The new high-output V8 engine, available from late 2011, will be responsible for the 40% increase in efficiency over the previous model. To begin with, the GT will be available with the company's 6-litre twin-turbo W12, pumping out 567bhp/516lb ft of torque, which can also run on any mix of Petrol and E85 bio-ethanol. Performance is swift, with 60mph arriving in 4.4 seconds, and 100mph after 10.2. Maximum speed is quoted at 198mph (318km/h).

To help reduce any chance of understeer on the limit, the engineering team at Bentley has given the 4-wheel drive GT a rear-biased 40:60 torque split. Coupled with increased front and rear track, this should give the car much more high-speed stability, with a Torsen limited-slip differential and uprated 'Electronic Stability Control' keeping everything in check whatever the weather.

'Aluminium Super Forming' is the all-new production technique that Bentley has decided to implement on the new Continental GT. The process heats up a single sheet of Aluminium, and uses air pressure to shape the panel, giving more accurate and 'sharper' lines. Extensive use of aluminium in the GT is said to help alleviate more 65kg from the overall weight of 2320kg, which in-turn helps to increase overall efficiency of the car.

On the inside, it's hard to miss the new 'Cobra' design seats. Bentley says that the more space efficient design gives the front seat passengers more comfort and support, yet offers an improvement in rear leg-room. The introduction of a 'Google Maps' enabled 30GB multimedia system should also offer huge improvements to the GT, with the option of 'Naim for Bentley' premium audio system. 

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