The changes to the new GTC appear mild, but the sharper bodywork, upgraded interior, more powerful engine and tweaked chassis have improved the car significantly. Whether you’re driving on congested city streets or blasting down B-roads, its crisp handling and superb ride are an experience to be savoured. It might not be the fastest, most expensive convertible in the world, but when it comes to effortless performance the Bentley is in a league of its own. Only the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe comes close – and that costs nearly £200,000 more.
The new Continental GTC may not appear that different to the model it replaces, but Bentley says the car has been improved in every way. Better handling, more power and sharper looks should make this one of the world’s ultimate open-top driving experiences – so does it add up on UK roads?
It features the same basic silhouette as its predecessor, but every panel is new. Sharper creases in the aluminium bodywork give the exterior a more modern appearance, a ‘double-horseshoe’ design sculpted into the bootlid is taken from the Mulsanne and there’s a choice of 20 or 21-inch wheels.
Three layers of fabric are used for the soft-top, which comes in eight different colours and takes 25 seconds to fold away at speeds up to 20mph. Roof up, the car’s incredible refinement leaves you wondering why you would buy the coupe instead.
Open the door and the waft of expensive leather hits you. The swathes of hand-stitched hide (available in 17 colours), wood veneers and aluminium trim are expertly put together and exude quality. Thinner front seats free up an extra 25mm of rear legroom – although adults will still find it a tight fit – while a new hot-air neck warmer is installed.
Under the bonnet, engineers have coaxed an extra 15bhp and 50Nm of torque from the W12, to 567bhp and 700Nm respectively, and gearbox upgrades borrowed from the Continental Supersports cut shift times in half.
Changes are super-smooth, but the benefit of such immense torque is that no matter what gear you’re in, the GTC is happy to waft along serenely or surge ahead like a steam train, depending on your mood.
A wider track, revised steering and a 40:60 front-rear torque bias mean that despite its size, the Bentley turns into corners crisply, grips hard and is rewarding to drive fast.
Four revised damper settings give it a wider breadth of ability than ever before, so whether you’re looking for supreme comfort or tighter body control, the newcomer can perform both roles to a tee.