Bentley will be using the upcoming Geneva show as a launchpad for a biofuel powered GT that Bentley’s PR reps promise will be the fastest and most powerful production car in the company’s history.
Details of the new Continental variant are limited, and the company has only released a single teaser image (above) while promising the moon and the stars above for it’s coming eco-missile. Without further details, we can only guess at the new Conti-green’s powertrain… sounds like fun!
Some educated guesses after the jump.
First, it should be noted that the most powerful Bentley in the company’s current arsenal is the Continental GT Speed, can carry blast from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and top out at 202 MPH. To overcome the obstacle of a very large (and not terribly aerodynamic), heavy (almost 5000 lbs.), inefficient (30% driveline loss), all-wheel-drive luxury car (it really is quite nice) to those extreme speeds, the GT Speed needs every one of its twin-turbo W12‘s 600 hp and 553 lb-ft.
To really make a statement, to become THE new standard-bearer for a luxury GT class that includes Mercedes’ CL65 and Ferrari’s 612 Scaglieti – as well as the current GT Speed! – the new Bentley needs to be less of an obstacle to its own progress. In short: the new “eco-Conti” needs to be more aerodynamic, lighter, and more efficient — OR — significantly more powerful.
I fully expect Bentley to pay some lip service to the aero and the efficiency (Bentley is owned by VW, after all, which needs to maintain some green cred to keep its core customer-base happy), but the real benefit Bentley hopes to extract from ethanol as a motor fuel – the benefit all the Real performance-adrenaline junkies crave – is the significant octane boost and thermal efficiency of alcohol-based fuels.
Alcohol’s higher octane rating, compared to gasoline, allows for significantly more compression within the cylinder head without detonation, which means that Bentley’s engine-builders can crank up the boost from the car’s two big turbochargers. The ethanol will also burn cooler than gasoline, so the internal components can stand greater friction (from higher rpm). Expect the new Bentley to take advantage of these characteristics and run higher boost at higher rpm than the out-going “king of the hill” GT Speed.
Vents in the hood and huge grille openings on either side of the new Bentley’s central air intake seem to imply significantly more air going to the turbo’s intercoolers, which supports the “higher revs” hypothesis (the engine internals may run cooler with the ethanol, but the turbos will not).
I don’t expect the new Bentley to drop all-wheel-drive (which is too bad, since a rear-drive-only Bentley might suffer less than 25% driveline loss) but it could be worse…
So, I could be wrong on ALL counts, and the new Bentley might be packing 1200 hp worth of electric motors and a small, ethanol-driven range-extending 4 cylinder straight from a VW microcar! Wouldn’t THAT be Something!?
Don’t forget to share your guesses in the comments.
Image Credit: Bentley Motors.