The 202 mph drop-top.
The newest generation of Bentley Continental brought about greater efficiency, advanced engineering, and modern technology. But the new generation also brought along even better performance with a new range of more economical engines wrapped around a stiff chassis that’s capable of providing that superb Bentley ride quality along with a touch of dynamics. Back in June of 2012, the British marquee introduced their newest and fastest model ever – the Continental GT Speed Coupe. Now, they’ve unveiled their Continental GT Speed Convertible which takes an already incredible luxury performance car and gives it year-round usability.
While the new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 is available for the Continental, Bentley opted to keep the same 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W-12 engine as found in the GT Speed Coupe. The 6.0-liter produces 616 bhp (625 PS) at 6,000 RPM and a maximum torque of 590 lb-ft. (800 Nm) from a low 2,000 RPM all the way up to 5,000 RPM for a broad power curve. Even with the bigger, more powerful engine, the Continental GT Speed Convertible is more efficient than ever before thanks to a close-ratio eight-speed transmission, energy recuperation system, and new ME17 engine management system that alters the turbocharger and torque output to improve fuel economy and carbon emissions by 15 percent. Switching into ‘Sport’ mode on the transmission provides drivers with a sharper throttle response, block shifting, and allows the gears to hang on to higher rev ranges for quicker and more exciting acceleration.
The 6.0-liter W-12 engine sends out a magnificent sound thanks to a new free-breathing exhaust system and accelerates to incredible speeds. Acceleration from 0-60 mph takes just 4.1 seconds, while 100 mph is reached in a mere 9.7 seconds. Top speed is set all the way back at a breathtaking 202 mph making the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible the fastest four-seat convertible in the world.
The new Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is more than just a ragtop with a big, powerful engine packed inside. The body and chassis of the car boasts a class-leading 22,500 Nm/degree torsional stiffness, contributing to the superb dynamics of the luxury convertible. A new suspension setup is also featured that utilizes a double-wishbone front and trapezoidal multi-link rear design with upgraded air suspension springs and dampers that work with the automatic self-leveling system to reduce ride height by 10 mm compared to the GT Convertible model. New front and rear roll bars reduce body roll even further while the Servotronic steering system was retuned for sharper a sharper steering response.
Aside from the engine and stiffer chassis setup, the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is an extremely enjoyable driving experience thanks to its cloth convertible top. The top has been designed with four layers of high-quality fabric that provide superb sound and weather insulation. The engineering team at Crewe subjected the top to everything from monsoon-force rain to extreme temperatures ranging from -30°C to +50°C to ensure all-year drivability. In the colder months of spring and autumn, drivers can enjoy a smooth ride with the top down thanks to standard neck warmers.
The exterior design of the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is noticeably more aggressive, yet still classy compared to the “standard” models. A matrix radiator grille surrounded by dark-tint chrome air intakes and a winged ‘B’ badge with a black enamel background stares ahead with confidence. A unique elliptical dual exhaust system with striking rifled interior seamlessly meshes with the smooth lines at the rear bumper and provides a thrilling sound under throttle. All of the fenders were manufactured from lightweight superformed aluminum and wrap around 21-inch Speed alloy wheels in a silver or optional dark-tint finish.
The interior of the Continental GT Speed Convertible is classic Bentley with superb refinements and outstanding luxury mixed with modern technology. The entire cockpit is hand-crafted to the Mulliner Driving Specification that features diamond-quilted hide upholstery, ‘Speed’ door entry sills, and a Dark Tint Aluminum ‘engine spin’ dashboard that draws inspiration from the 1920s Le Mans winning Bentley racers. Centered in the dashboard is a 15 GB infotainment system with an array of entertainment and utilities. Special flat-panel Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) speakers incorporate both midrange and tweeter functions and alters settings once the top is lowered to compensate for the change in environment for a superb audio experience. As an alternative, customers can opt for the Naim for Bentley system with custom-built speakers and eight digital processing modes along with a wide range of custom-tailored interior options.
The new Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible will make its worldwide debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 14th. Pricing for the super-luxury performance convertible has not been released.
Continental GT Speed Convertible Specifications
Displacement: 6.0 liters
Number of Cylinders: W-12
Aspiration: Twin turbocharged
Maximum Horsepower: 616 bhp (625 PS/460 kW) at 6,000 RPM
Maximum Torque: 590 lb-ft./800 Nm from 2,000 to 5,000 RPM
Type: ZF 8-speed automatic with Quickshift, Block Shifting and wheel-mounted paddleshift
Drive: Continuous all-wheel drive (40:60 rear bias)
Acceleration 0-60 mph: 4.1 seconds
Acceleration 0-100 mph: 9.7 seconds
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 4.4 seconds
Acceleration 0-160 km/h: 9.7 seconds
Top Speed: 202 mph / 325 km/h
Wheels, Tires, Suspension, and Brakes:
Wheels: 9.5J x 21”
Tires: 275/35 ZR21
Front Brakes: 405mm ventilated discs (optional 420mm Carbon Silicon Carbide, cross drilled).
Rear Brakes: 335mm ventilated discs (optional 356mm, Carbon Silicon Carbide, cross drilled).
Front Suspension: Four-link double wishbones, self-leveling air suspension, anti-roll bar.
Rear Suspension: Trapezoidal multi-link, self-leveling air suspension, anti-roll bar.
Damping: Continuous Damping Control, tuned for dynamic performance.
Continental GT Speed Convertible Gallery