New S Tronic gearbox will be used in next Continental GT model slated to debut next year as a 2012 model. The gearbox will be coupled to a new 4.0 liter direct-injection V8 engine Bentley is co-developing with sister brand Audi.

Last week we reported that Bentley was developing a new 4.0 liter V8 engine with sibling brand Audi that will be introduced in the 2012 Continental GT model.

Now, Autocar is reporting that the next Continental GT with the new V8 engine will also feature the S Tronic gearbox from Audi. The coupling of the two technologies will deliver a sporty GT that also features reductions in fuel-economy and CO2 emissions over the current W12-powered one.

"The V8 will find a new audience for us. There are sports car enthusiasts out there, particularly in the US, who won't buy a sports car unless it's powered by a V8," said Alasdair Stewart, sales and marketing chief at Bentley, in the Autocar story.

But the luxury British automaker will need to conduct some re-engineering of the GT's undercarriage and running gear in order to fit the 7-speed S Tronic. The W12-engined GT currently has a 6-speed gearbox from ZF.

Bentley hopes the new power train on the next Continental GT will help the model achieve the same sales level of 5,000 units a year that the current GT did at its peak.

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