We know. Bentley's a bit of an aspirational brand compared against the makes that garner most of our automotive coverage. But hey, it's always nice to have something to reach for, and after spending last weekend with not one, but a pair of Bentleys (it's a long story, which you'll get in full next week), we can at least tell you that the $1 Powerball ticket is worth the investment. If you do hit it big, you might want to delay your visit to the Bentley dealer until January, though.
For readers not familiar with it, the Bentley Continental lineup includes the GT coupe (shown here, as newly redesigned for 2012), the GTC convertible, and the Flying Spur sedan. Right now, every Continental features some flavor of the same 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 (tuned for varying power outputs in regular, Speed, and Supersports trims). That's changing, though.
When the updated Continental GT was unveiled a year ago, Bentley announced that it was developing a new 4.0-liter V8 (more efficient, lower emissions, etc.) to join the W12 in the engine lineup. We can now confirm that the V8 will be formally unveiled to the public in January at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, in what's shaping up to be a busy show season for Bentley, which will first pull the wraps off the restyled Continental GTC in Frankfurt this September.
We spoke briefly to a Bentley source who's had some seat time in the V8 Continental GT, and word is that the lighter engine in front infuses an even more sporting character, and that engineers have tuned the exhaust to produce a properly satisfying growl. As for the four-door Continental Flying Spur, the existing design will carry on for a while, but we hear that for the next-generation car, Bentley stylists are considering a look that's more aggressive than the current Spur's somewhat conservative, upright profile. When you look at the sleek luxury/performance sedans currently offered by Jaguar in the XF and XJ, and Mercedes-Benz in the new 2012 CLS-class, it's easy to see why Bentley would look to make an even more dramatic visual impact with the next Spur.
Below, you can check out a few pics of the Flying Spur Speed and the 2012 Continental GT we spent time with last weekend. Be sure to swing by next week, too, as we'll give you the lowdown on both.