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Farewell to a Bentley Icon: The 4.0 Twin-Turbo V8 Leaves the Continental in Mulliner Style

Bentley devotees have less than three weeks to place an order for the V8 Continental GT and GTC, as the fabled powerplant will no longer be available past that date for European customers. The good news is that the two versions of the renowned British luxury brand will stay on sale in other markets for a little longer. For Europe, however, mid-November will mark the farewell to the two purely combustion-engined automobiles and their long-hailed eight-cylinder powerplants.
Mulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in Europe 16 photos
Photo: Bentley
Mulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in EuropeMulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in Europe
Honoring its heritage and British spirit, the carmaker (now part of the Volkswagen group) couldn’t simply close a significant chapter of its existence without paying due diligence to one of the brand’s most acclaimed engines. The coachbuilding artisans from Mulliner have created styling packages for the S and Azure derivatives of the Bentley Continental GT and GT Convertible. The celebratory themes can be configured as add-ons on the last-of-its-kind V8s of the line.

The five ‘Curated by Mulliner’ interior packages stay true to the bespoke crafting of a customer-curated touch of uniqueness for the absolute Grand Tourer of Bentley. Bright colors inspired by nature set these packages apart from other Mulliner creations and are available for all Continental GT and GTC V8 models. Whether choosing the sumptuous comfort of an Azure or the athletic character of the S, the styling options can be supplemented by exterior beauty marks in assorted complementary chromatic accents.

Continuing a two-decade tradition of highly individualized customization for the Continental GT, the Mulliner Styling Packages available for the curtain dropping on the V8 engine include flashy, striking hues like Key Lime, Vivid Red, Mandarin, Klein Blue, or Turquoise. In true Bentley tradition, other options can be loaded on each package.

Mulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in Europe
Photo: Bentley
Since Bentley always had a soft spot for complications, the five visual bundles draw influence from Mother Nature. For example, Key Lime is named after – you guessed it – the citric vitamin bomb-fruit inspired. Allegedly, its association of color and astringent, pungent sensory perceptions should energize the ‘traveling environment’ that a Bentley so ordered will become.

If tingling the taste buds and triggering a mouthwatering reaction isn’t quite the driver’s cup of tea, it gets better. The GT and GTC S, ever the sporty emblems, get their Vivian Reds from the pigments of Italy’s Aeolian islands next to Sicily. If nature itself can’t inspire a high-enough Bentley driving experience, how about hyper nature? The Klein Blue hue is transplanted from the utopian (and dystopian) uber-version of non-man-made reality.

'Curated by Mulliner' doesn’t mean just choosing colors from an imaginary realm, but features contrast steering wheel spokes and gear lever and a color-keyed pinstripe on the handmade veneer trim. Mulliner multi-tone seats come with deep-pile mats, contrasting micro-piping highlights in the customer’s color of choice, and 'Curated by Mulliner' lamps turn on when the Continental GT passengers enter or exit the car. Diamond Knurling Specification imbues the cockpit with jewelry-styled engravings on metal pieces of the dashboard, like the bullseye air vents.

Mulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in Europe
Photo: Bentley
The optional Exterior Styling Package is an add-on to the Interior Styling Package. It extends the color theme with pinstripes on the exterior mirrors and body kit, along with self-leveling center-cap wheel badges. The farewell cosmetic upgrading of the Continental GT variants is Bentley’s way of parting ways with a century-long heritage of exclusive piston power. As the British company marked its 100th anniversary in 2019, it also shifted its focus to the future of personal auto-mobility. And we all know what that means – hybrids and all-electric powerplants. As a logical conclusion, the venerable V8 engine will slowly give way to electron-spun motors.

By 2026, Bentley’s entire lineup will consist of plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles. Before this decade’s end, the composed rumble of British cylinders will be a song of the past. Within ten short years, the luxury marque will have fully turned from being the world’s most important 12-cylinder engine manufacturer to an electric-only brand.

Until then, however, a first step is already taken with the introduction of a hybrid powertrain in each of the auto company’s range of vehicles before the end of 2023. The Brits have pushed the moment as far away into the year as possible, but now it’s time. The V8 heart of the Continental GT and GTC will get bypass surgery.

Mulliner styling packages for the final Continental GT V8 models in Europe
Photo: Bentley
Following the introduction of the first Bentley fully electric model in 2025 - Bentley’s first fully carbon neutral car - Bentley will exclusively offer plug-in hybrid and electric models within our range in 2026. By 2030, this will change to battery-electric vehicles only. What is left in the past is a masterpiece of automotive engineering, a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 introduced in January 2021.

The high-strength aluminum block construction and the twin-scroll turbochargers positioned between the cylinder banks (together with the primary catalytic converters) are just two of the key elements for obtaining 135 bhp/liter. 542 hp (550 PS) and 568 lb-ft (770 Nm) are finger-snapping easy for today’s hybrids and electric powertrains. Still, those numbers will never sound as good as they do coming out of this beautiful square powerplant.

86x86 mm (3.385-inch) bore and stroke allowed for the perfect mix between peak power and maximum torque, with help from metallurgy and precision craftsmanship. With the lightweight alloy pistons reciprocating at up to 20 meters per second (72 kph, or 48 mph), the cylinder sleeve iron alloy coating of 150 microns has a lot of stress to fend off.

The engine can cut off four of its cylinders (no. 2, 3, 5, and 8) in 20 milliseconds (ten times faster than a literal blink of an eye) when the load is light enough, cutting fuel consumption by a third. The two-stage 50°-variable camshaft performs this temporary shutdown, turning the mighty V8 into a perfect V4. Having reached the far end of its technological possibilities, the hard-punching V8 will be phased out as the pages of mechanical history turn toward the electric chapter.
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About the author: Razvan Calin
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After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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