The V8 will have 40 per cent lower CO2 emissions than the 384g/km of the W12, but both engines will be capable of running on 85 per cent ethanol. Bentley has committed to having E85 compatibility in all its cars by 2012 with the first being the Supersports launched here last December.
While performance details are not yet available for the V8, the 12-cylinder, twin-turbocharged powertrain will have 12kW more power with 423kW and 700Nm of torque. It will be mated to a new Quickshift transmission which enables double downshifts.
Bentley claims this combination of engine and transmission drops the 0-100km/h time from 4.6 to 4.4 seconds. Australia's Bentley spokesman, Ian Churchill, says they will be taking orders for the new four-seater coupe later this year with a local launch in the second quarter of next year.
"The W12 engine is available at launch with the V8 derivative to be communicated late 2011," he says. "Both will ultimately be available to the Australian market.
"The key point to note with these two engine configurations is our overall commitment to producing engaging vehicles for the market while still making clear our intention to embrace a combination of flex-fuel and engine improvements to reduce Bentley's environment impact."
Pricing will be announced soon, he says.
"In terms of sales we expect strong interest from owners of the current Continental coupe, of which we have sold 23,000 since launch in 2003," Churchill says. "The blend of supercar performance with everyday practicality has meant the new GT is attracting many new clients to the Bentley stable."
The car will also feature "super formed" aluminium front wings and boot lid that allow for a more sculpted body. Super forming heats the aluminium panels to nearly 500 degrees Celsius before shaping them by air pressure. By using a single sheet of aluminium, no seams or welding are required.
The process was first used on the Mulsanne and it allows a weight reduction in the coupe of 65kg. The exterior now features jewelled headlamps with LED daytime-running lights, a more upright matrix radiator grille and new double horseshoe rear profile first shown on the flagship Bentley Mulsanne.
Inside is a new sweeping dashboard and instrument panel finished in premium, soft-touch leather hides, cobra-design seats, more rear cabin space and a new touchscreen, 30GB infotainment system with satellite navigation.