Bentley Motors new sports coupe, likely to be called the Continental GT and due to make its public debut at September’s Paris motor show, will have a twin-turbo six-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine, the Volkswagen-owned company confirmed today.

Based on the motor recently revealed in the Phaeton, the W12 is described in the first official details as delivering “in excess of 500bhp”. That, the official blurb says, is sufficient to enable the £100,000 coupe “to reach 60mph from rest in under five seconds and reach a maximum speed somewhat in excess of 180mph.”

Bentley has not revealed the car’s torque figure but the respected UK magazine Autocar says engineers are trying to achieve 740 lb/ft (1,000Nm) – more than developed by Mercedes’ twin-turbo V12 Maybach and also exceeding the output of Bentley’s own Le Mans race car.

Citing Bentley’s own engineers, Autocar says the new coupe is faster than Ferrari’s 360 Modena – for which the magazine recorded an 0-60mph time of 4.2 seconds – and beaten off the line only by Lamborghini’s new Murcielago.

Bentley claims “the engine is derived from the similarly configured powerplant used elsewhere in the Volkswagen group [but] was designed and developed by Bentley. Moreover, like the rest of the car, this Bentley powerplant will be built at Crewe.”

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Well, sort of. According to Autocar, the body and mechanicals will actually be assembled at a VW plant in Mosel, Germany, with only trimming –traditional craftsmanship with leather and wood can be expected – and final assembly carried out at the VW-owned Rolls-Royce/Bentley plant in Crewe, England.

BMW has chosen a similar route for building its new Rolls-Royce luxury sedan once ownership of the famous marque transfers from VW on 1 January. The bodyshell and mechanicals will be made at BMW plants in Germany with only final assembly and trimming carried out at an all-new plant at Goodwood in southern England.

Releasing some initial details of its new coupe, though the rear styling and interior remain secret, Bentley said the philosophy behind the as yet unnamed coupé (Autocar says it will be called the Continental GT) was to produce a car with true supercar performance that could be used as a daily driver.

The specification will include a new, paddle operated six speed automatic gearbox (transmission failures have plagued prototype test cars, Autocar says) and four-wheel drive – a first for Bentley.

“All-wheel drive for an engine of this output was considered essential not simply for its proven active safety, but also to enhance its everyday usability,” Bentley said in a statement.

An electronic stability control system will also be fitted and the suspension features a multi-link rear axle, double wishbones at the front and electronic damping.

Bentley claims the cabin, still under wraps, “fully reflects the marque’s values and its on-going dedication to the use of the finest woods, hide and handcraftsmanship” with seating for four and sufficient luggage space.

With the final design signed off, work is now concentrated on evaluation and durability testing in arctic cold and desert heat (though the company has done a good job keeping prototypes out of the view of spy snappers’ lenses, unlike BMW which has been caught driving its new Rolls-Royce into the Oxford Mini plant and recently left one parked outside near the Goodwood factory).

“The result,” Bentley promises, “will be one of the quickest, most thoroughly developed and advanced cars ever offered for sale to the general public by a car manufacturer.”