Bentley Continental GTC Speed convertible review

1 Aug, 2014 9:30am Jack Rix

Behind the wheel of the Bentley Continental GTC Speed, the fastest four-seater convertible in the world

Verdict

4
You’ll pay an extra £15,700 for the privilege of owning a Bentley Continental GTC Speed convertible, but if soft tops are your thing there’s very little sacrifice in terms of the way it drives. The engine has a mountain of torque and the auto box deals with it immaculately, so despite the power on tap, you could use this car every day – assuming you can afford it in the first place.

If you’re looking to buy the fastest production Bentley ever, you’ll need to refer to our review of the Continental GT Speed coupe. But if you’re willing to sacrifice 3mph to get some wind in your hair, read on...

The real-world performance gap between coupe and convertible versions of the new flagship GT Speed is negligible really; 0-62mph takes a tenth longer in the drop-top, at 4.1 seconds, while it can still hit 203mph flat-out (the coupe does 206mph). Due to that triple-layer roof and opening mechanism, the GTC is 175kg heavier, but as the coupé already weighs in at 2.3 tonnes, it’s less of a handicap than you might think.

Similarities to the coupe run deeper than just the performance figures, too. Under the bonnet is an identical 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbo engine, producing a supercar-shaming 626bhp and 820Nm of torque (59bhp and 120Nm more than in the standard GTC W12), and the way all four tyres dig in and fire you down the road, along with a booming exhaust note, is instantly familiar.

Bentley Continental GTC Speed convertible rear

An eight-speed auto is fitted as standard, and gives smooth, seamless shifts, although the column-mounted paddles are tricky to reach.

Even in corners, where some convertibles have a tendency to buck and wobble, the GTC remains rock steady, with only the biggest bumps revealing a slight flex in the chassis. Just don’t be hoodwinked by the Speed’s 10mm lower and 45 per cent stiffer suspension – while this car can carry ludicrous speeds from apex to exit, it’s still large and heavy, and feels more at home cruising quickly around long, sweeping bends and down motorways.

Folding the roof (it takes 25 seconds) brings another dimension to the driving experience. Most noticeably, it turns the volume up on the exhaust (although we found the constant drone gets tiring if you leave the powertrain in its Sport setting), and increases the sense of speed.

Bentley Continental GTC Speed convertible interior

The rear seats can take small adults at a squeeze, but are better for kids. Boot space down from 358 litres in coupe to 260 litres. The interior feels special, with embroidered seats and hand-stitched leather. The milled aluminium trim gives our test car a more modern finish, too.

Unlike the coupe, in which you can hit three figures without realising you’re over the limit, the rush of wind and sun on your face makes this a very special experience – as it should be considering the eye-watering £172,400 price.

Key specs

  • Price: £172,400
  • Engine: 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbo
  • Power/torque: 626bhp/820Nm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 4.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 203mph
  • Economy/CO2: 19.0mpg/347g/km
  • On sale: Now