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First drive: Bentley Continental GTC. Image by Bentley UK.

First drive: Bentley Continental GTC
After the Coupe GT, here comes the next Bentley Continental - the gorgeous GTC soft-top.

 



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Bentley Continental GTC W12 First Edition

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Bentley's latest version of the Continental GT blew us away when we first drove it, so now here's one of the first variations on the theme - it's the Conti GT Convertible, or GTC in shorthand. And it is, quite unsurprisingly, unabashedly excellent.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Bentley Continental GTC W12 First Edition
Pricing: Continental GTC from 175,100, First Edition as tested 226,520
Engine: 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 petrol
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: two-door GT convertible
CO2 emissions: 317g/km (VED Band Over 255: 2,135 first 12 months, then 465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 20.2mpg
Top speed: 207mph
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
Power: 635hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 900Nm at 1,350-4,500rpm
Boot space: 235 litres

What's this?

The Conti GTC, Mk2. Or Mk3, if you believe the Bentley marketing team, but realistically even the latest examples of the previous-gen GTCs were based on underpinnings which had been around since 2003. Which made them Old. With a capital 'O', you'll note.

However, since the Mk2 launched in 2018, things have improved because the Conti is now sat on the same MSB platform that also forms the foundation of a Porsche Panamera, and this can only be 'A Very Good Thing'. There will be multiple engine and body style derivatives of the Continental to come, but first up the ramp after the W12 Coupe is this W12 GTC soft-top.

It's a stunning-looking thing. Losing its head hasn't harmed the elegant lines of the Conti Mk2 and it remains an arresting piece of design, with its powerful haunches, sleeker stance and neat Bentley detailing. Same goes for the interior, which is sumptuously faultless, blessed with the Bentley Rotating Display (best thing on any modern car, bar none) and capable of taking four adults on board. . . just about. You do lose a bit of boot space in the transition from GT to GTC, but on a practicality score the Bentley still rates highly, given it is a luxury convertible.

The fabric roof is acoustic, thickly layered and accompanied with double-glazed glass, all with the aim of ensuring the GTC is as discreet and hushed to travel in at speed as the Conti GT. Weight is up by around 100kg on the Coupe, the GTC clocking a robust 2,414kg all-in, while structural bracing to improve torsional rigidity is said to make this car no less noisy or uncomfortable to travel in than the old Continental GT hard-top. The Z-fold roof, by the way, raises and lowers in just 19 seconds and you can do it on the move at speeds of up to 31mph. Which is nice. The GTC's price is 16,000 more than the equivalent GT's ticket, with the option of still bumping it up further with First Edition spec and more toys - witness our test Continental GTC's meaty OTR figure of 226,520.

How does it drive?

The Continental GTC drives brilliantly, for a big luxury GT with a sporting twist, but it's not quite as cohesive and downright impressive as the Coupe model. It's marginal stuff but you can feel the difference in weight and structural rigidity with the GTC, as it's just a touch less eager to get into corners, slow itself down under heaving braking and generally smooth out the worst of the road imperfections its 21-inch alloys are traversing. On this last point, we're specifically referring to shudders through the structure; they are by no means harsh or even massively noticeable, but there's undeniably a touch more flex about this car, quite understandably, than there is in the GT Coupe.

It also doesn't feel quite as dementedly quick, although it's still a monstrously fast machine in the grand scheme of things, as is any Bentley fitted with this whopping 6.0-litre W12 biturbo motor. With 900Nm on tap and a gorgeous eight-speed gearbox serenely apportioning power to all four wheels, the 2.4-tonne GTC is properly, properly quick - it's simply that it's not quite as properly, properly quick as the W12 tin-top. But maybe we're comparing apples with oranges here. And the GTC is magnificent in every other regard. Hood up, the refinement levels feel no different to the fixed-roof sibling, while with it down occupants are well protected from blustering winds about the open cabin, without need to resort to the fold-out wind deflector that is otherwise stashed in the boot. The ride quality on the all-corners air suspension is also exemplary, with little in the way of thump and crash from the alloys to report, and the body control is right from the top drawer. Fantastic steering, too, something we've noted about other Bentleys in recent years.

In summary, there's a graceful elegance to everything the GTC does, so much so that you don't mind the fact it's not quite as willing at the handling limit as its relation, mainly because it's much nicer to just waft around on the Continental's mammoth midrange torque, keeping your driving style smooth and tidy and therefore complementing the car's natural GT spirit all the better. In this regard, there is precious little in the wide, wide world of open-top cars which can hope to match the Continental's near-endless feelgood factor, and for that alone its asking price of nearly a quarter-of-a-million quid doesn't look so bad after all.

Verdict

The Bentley Continental GTC is an expected and thoroughly excellent addition to the luxury GT's product portfolio. Its extra mass ever-so-slightly blunts its performance and handling, to the point that - as with the GT coupe - we're eager to try the V8 model; for the GT, we think the lighter engine over the nose will improve its already-superb handling, while on the GTC it's more the added advantages of the eight-cylinder soundtrack we're after. Nevertheless, whatever the merits of eight v twelve or handling v comfort debates, the fact remains that the Conti GTC is one of the absolute finest four-seater convertibles/grand tourers you could possibly hope to try.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 30 Jul 2019









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2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.

2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.2019 Bentley Continental GTC First Edition W12. Image by Bentley UK.








 

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