Back in 2006 the original Bentley Continental GTC was the first car featured on Convertible Car Magazine. Back then it was something quite different to the other drop tops on the market. In the Bentley tradition it was big, fast, luxurious and came at a price that was out of reach of all but the privileged.
Three years later and this unique car has been evolved into a more sporting offering. It is hard to imagine why a Bentley driver would require more speed; the standard car happily wafted its occupants to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds and should the law and conditions allow would continue to a top speed of 195 mph.
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed claims membership to the 200 mph club and although that extra 5 mph would make no difference at all in real-world driving, it is key to the success of this car. It comes down to the fact that buying a bentley is not a logical purchase. It will be bought by those who demand the best. They desire the performance of a supercar and the yet the ultimate in comfort and luxury. Those who will buy the GTC Speed wouldn’t consider anything but the top of the range so we can expect it to dominate Bentley’s GTC sales.
The Bentley driver will be pleased to know that the Speed model lacks none of the GTC’s refinement. It is firmer but still smooth as silk and the driver feels miles away from the perfectly engineered mechanics purring away under the bonnet. Visually, there’s little to tell it apart from the standard model – Bentley obviously consider aggressive body styling to be in poor taste.
Under the body panels considerable upgrades can be found covering the engine, gearbox, suspension and brakes. The the twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine delivers 600 bhp, an increase of 48 bhp squeezing that 0-60mph time down to 4.3 seconds. The air suspension is lowered and firmed up a touch and the ample brakes but you can specify fade-resistant carbon ceramic brakes (apparently the largest production passenger car brakes in the world, at 420mm front/356mm rear) should you wish. They’re a little sharp but it is the world’s fastest four seat convertible and a heavy car.
Inside is also a Mulliner interior and ‘driving pack’ giving a more more driver focused experience.
On the road the Bentley GTC Speed is hugely capable, leaving the rest of the world looking rather substandard. A bit like entering Usain Bolt in an egg and spoon race. In a straight line it’s hugely fast and yet feels unhurried. It is equally composed in the corners where it offers a little more feedback when pushed harder.
On the surface it may seem like a compromise – a sports model that glides along more like a limousine, but to Bentley drivers it is perfect. If they wanted a noisy, bone shaking sports car they could have bought one. For those who only travel First Class the combination of cosseting luxury and limitless power are a recipe for perfection.