This convertible is a true class act
The second generation Bentley Continental GTC offers a seductive combination of power, style and craftsmanship.
This iconic brand has been making iconic open tourers for over ninety years, some built to achieve success at Le Mans and Brooklands, others to convey their glamorous owners to the resorts of Monte Carlo and Cannes.
All have been memorable but in truth, none has been truly sporting in the supercar sense. Until now perhaps. With a choice of 4.0-litre V8 or 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engines, this MK2 model possesses a blend of trans-continental pace, dynamic drive and luxurious comfort that very few other vehicles can match.
From rest, the experience is much as it's always been, with the familiar sights, smells and sensations as you ease yourself behind the wheel, casting an admiring glance at the handcrafted leather and veneered wood before pushing the exquisitely chromed starter button. Somewhere in front of you, the huge engine bursts into life with a roar that it's worth taking an extra 25 seconds to experience first hand – this the amount of time it'll take to lower the three-layer fabric roof.
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If the GTC in question is powered by this 500bhp 4.0-litre V8, then there's a purposeful bark to the note, a straining at the leash to be away, unfolding the horizon towards you. If, on the other hand, power is being delivered by the uprated 567bhp W12 cylinder unit, the engine note is deeper, baser, more relaxed. Owners with access to an airfield or who happen to have a particularly extravagant driveway on the front of their stately home will marvel in this V8 model as sixty flashes by in five seconds before being able to see 187mph figure register on the speedometer if they're brave enough. Go for twelve cylinders and there's a fractional improvement to 4.5s and 195mph, figures you can further embellish by opting for the pokier 616bhp version of the 6.0-litre unit that's been fitted to the top 200mph GT Speed variant.
This Continental GTC remains a wonderful achievement. It isn't too taxing to create a supercar capable of lapping racetracks at outlandish speeds but to create something that can do almost the same while cosseting you in an atmosphere akin to an exclusive gentleman's club is a rare feat indeed.
Owning one of these is like having your own private jet – in fact, it's better than that because it's so much more usable and, roof down, you can enjoy the journey so much more. This was always the world's most beautifully engineered luxury open-topped conveyance. Now, with its extra sporting brio, it's even more desirable.
Is it the proper four-seater supercar convertible we were promised? Specified correctly, you could argue that. What's more important though, is that this remains a gloriously unique way to travel, in every way a true convertible. A Bentley convertible.