It seems Bentley has realised that creating a V8 version of the Continental GT and making it very nearly as imperious as the full fat W12 might not be great for its image.

Think about it. Imagine you were musing the purchase of a new Continental GT coupé. Here are your options:

Continental GT V8
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 500bhp@6,000rpm
Torque: 487lb.ft@1,700rpm
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 188mph
Economy: 26.7mpg combined
CO2: 246g/km
Price: £123,850

Continental GT W12
Engine: 6.0-litre W12
Power: 567bhp@6,000rpm
Torque: 516lb.ft@1,700rpm
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 198mph
Economy: 17.1mpg combined
CO2: 384g/km
Price: £135,760

You'd probably buy the V8, right? And that's not even accounting for the fact the V8 is the sweeter handler because there's less weight pushing down on the front axle.

Bentley making the V8 so good is like Fender making a Squier Stratocaster that's built using better quality wood and pickups than a US Custom Shop Strat.

So, according to the boys and girls at What Car?, the Crewe Massive (that's Bentley) is working on making the twelve-cylinder W12 engine much better. When it's finished, the engine will develop around 600bhp, putting clear water between it and the V8, and making sure that the centre forward's car is noticeably better than the goalkeeper's.

The revelation comes from the mouth of Bentley technical director Ralf Frech, who said that "the W12 can have the same improvements as the new V8." That means it'll get more economical as well as being more powerful.

In addition, Bentley will consider hybrid power for the Continental. The company has already flirted with the ecosphere by developing its cars to run on E85 biofuel, but if nothing else, a hybrid car will give Bentley a dose of much needed environmentally friendly PR.