The Continental GT Speed Convertible, Bentley’s new open-top performance flagship - and the world’s fastest four-seat convertible is revealed ahead of its international debut on 14th January at the North American International Auto Show, Detroit. Taking its place at the pinnacle of the Bentley Continental range, the new GT Speed Convertible has a top speed 325 km/h.
In a nutshell, this the high performance open-roof version of the new Bentley Continental GT, thundered by 616 bhp twin-turbocharged 6.0 litre W12 delivering an earth pulling 800Nm of torque. Buttery-smooth driven via the close-ratio 8 speed automatic transmission, the all-wheel-drive Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is capable of pulling a mega 4.4s century sprint.
The Continental GT Speed convertible shares its powertrain specification with its Bentley stablemate the GT Speed coupé, meaning a 6.0L W12 twin-turbocharged, 48-valve. The aforementioned 800Nm of torque is on service from 2000rpm, and plateau all the way until 5000rpm to deliver the characteristic effortless high performance only a Bentley can offer.
The new GT Speed Convertible’s powertrain is even more tractable than its Speed predecessor, and just as fuel-efficient as the new W12 Continental GT. Switching the gear selector to ‘Sport’ mode however demonstrates the dual personality of the new GT Speed convertible, delivering a sharper throttle response, gear-shifting at higher engine speeds and faster ‘block shifting’ (eg 8th direct to 4th gear) for instantly accessible acceleration. The enhanced performance is accentuated by a glorious baritone snarl from the free-breathing exhaust, a thrilling soundtrack to the magnificent powerhouse under the bonnet.
For the exterior, Continental GT Speed convertible is distinguished by a matrix radiator grille and bumper air intakes in a dark-tint chrome finish. The 21” Speed alloy wheels are unique to this model, and are available in silver or an optional dark tint. Large, elliptical exhaust tailpipes feature a rifled interior, while a further, subtle design touch is revealed when the bonnet is opened – the black inlet manifold is unique to the Continental Speed models. As with the GT Speed coupé, the winged ‘B’ badge which crowns the radiator shell is set upon a black enamel background. The front wings of the GT Speed Convertible are created in superformed aluminium, their seamless form and crisply-defined body creases creating an impression of tension and muscularity.
Inside, exclusive treadplates featuring the ‘Speed’ legend welcome you to a four-seat cabin that features the hand-craftsmanship of the Mulliner Driving Specification, with its distinctive diamond-quilted hide upholstery. For the Continental GT Speed models Bentley offers an exclusive Dark Tint Aluminium ‘engine spin’ finish, inspired by the dashboards of the Le Mans winning Bentleys of the 1920s. Its understated shade is the perfect complement to the exterior’s dark tint chrome radiator and bumper grilles. Other optional finishes include the full range of fine wood veneers and a satin-finish Carbon Fibre option for fascia and centre console.
The infotainment system features Bentley’s latest software upgrades, which vary from region to region but include refinements such as point of interest mapping, optional satellite landscape imagery, live traffic data and, where the infrastructure supports it, digital radio. The system features 15 Gigabytes of available music space, as well as the facility to play music via an iPod, MP3 player, the car’s own six-disc CD changer or SD card. More details and photos after the jump.
Flat panel Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) speakers, which combine the functions of separate tweeter and midrange speakers in one unit, direct the sound with accuracy and provide greater clarity across the audible spectrum. Alternatively, the audiophile Naim for Bentley system, incorporating custom-built speakers and eight individual Digital Sound Processing modes, is available as an option. As a thoughtful touch, the audio balance settings automatically alter when the roof is lowered to compensate for the change in listening environment.
With torsional stiffness a class-leading 22,500 Nm/degree, the bodyshell of the Continental GT Speed convertible is exceptionally rigid, laying the perfect foundation for a more engaging driving experience. The aluminium double-wishbone front suspension and trapezoidal multi-link rear setup feature revised air suspension springs and dampers for improved agility and body control with little sacrifice in ride comfort.
The self-levelling system is set 10 mm lower than the 575PS Continental GT convertible. Stiffer suspension bushes ensure sharp, communicative handling, while uprated anti-roll bars optimise the handling balance. The result is improved body control under hard cornering together with greater agility and, because steering plays an essential role in feeding response and grip back to the driver, the Servotronic steering has also been recalibrated for the Speed specification.
The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is optimised for the new engine management system to deliver both outstanding safety and greater driver involvement. The ESC system retains the “Dynamic Mode” setting that allows increased wheel slip at higher speeds, with engine torque reinstated more quickly after a system intervention. Together, these systems give the keen driver more opportunity to exploit the full potential of the new chassis set-up and higher power output.