Adding a new dimension of style, speed and dynamic character, the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S set makes its formal debut in Frankfurt. Available in both coupe and convertible body styles, the S-spec upgrade amps up the enthusiast appeal of each of these all-wheel-drive grand touring machines while retaining all of the fundamental refinement well-heeled owners have come to expect in any Bentley vehicle.

The transformation begins with a retuned version of the Continental's standard 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that boosts its horsepower from 500 to 521 and sees peak torque rise from 487 to 502 lb-ft. That extra muscle trims 0-60 mph sprint times to just 4.3 and 4.5 seconds, respectively, for the hard and soft top models. However, it doesn't impact the Continental's class-leading fuel economy stats. The revamp also involves tweaking the exhaust system to maintain a "proper" V8 sound even when the engine's Variable Displacement technology swings into action and shuts down half the cylinders during light-load conditions. Rounding out the mix is a close-ratio ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with a driver-selectable Sport mode that sharpens throttle response, holds gears longer and quickens shifts.

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Although basic chassis hardware remains unchanged in the Continental GT V8 S, this hotter variant does net significantly stiffer springs/shocks/bushings, revised software for the Continuous Damping Control adaptive suspension, recalibrated steering, larger rear anti-roll bar, a lower ride height and a less-restrictive Electronic Stability Control system. Individually optimized for coupe and convertible models, these upgrades promise to make the S variants more rewarding to drive under any conditions and at any speed.

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Adding visual interest to the S mix, these newest members of the Continental GT V8 family also feature a number of unique cosmetic enhancements. Up front, the standard bright grille is replaced by a gloss-black unit that's complemented by unique lower body styling elements including a deeper splitter, discrete side sills and a rear diffuser all set off by bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers, "figure-eight" twin dual exhaust ports and V8 S badges.

The 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S models will arrive in the U.S. early next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the actual on-sale date.

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