As the car industry gears up for the usual blizzard of new model announcements to be made at the Paris Motor Show in late September, a small but growing number of manufacturers are using another forum to show off their latest wares – this week's Moscow International Auto Show. At Moscow, there's more chance of being noticed in a less crowded launch timetable, and also, of course, the chance to appeal directly to Russia's growing and increasingly wealthy army of car buyers.
Bentley, for example, has decided that Russia is the best place to tell the world about the new Continental GT Speed, a sharpened up version of its GT coupé capable of accelerating from rest to 60mph in four second before going on to hit a maximum speed of 205mph. The GT Speed uses a 625 horsepower (PS) version of its 6.0-litre W12 petrol engine, which also turns out 800Nm of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Bentley will be showing two new 'Executive' interiors for the more expensive Mulsanne as well: Theatre, which is big on in-car entertainment and has an Apple computer hidden within its boot, and iPad, which, as the name suggests, has two of Apple's popular tablet devices integrated into the rear seat passengers' picnic tables.
Also making their first appearance in Russia, although they is already on the road in some other countries, are the 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 versions of the Continental GT coupé and GTC convertible models. While the V8 gives away two litres of capacity and four cylinders to the 6.0-litre W12 that was previously the only engine option in the Continental range, it still provides 507PS and 660Nm of torque - enough, in the case of the coupé for a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 188mph.