Bentley Motors has introduced a new flagship version of the ultimate, open-top Grand Tourer: the Continental GT Speed Convertible. The performance-orientated Speed is the most powerful, driver-focused interpretation of the benchmark Bentley and seems assured to make its mark on anybody who passes by. Before we dive in here, I have an honest question about the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible.
Who Buys These Things!?
Seriously. Apart from rap stars, oil-soaked sultans, and oligarchs, who looks around and says, “Yes! The new Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible, that’s the car for me!” It’s not that Bentley makes bad cars, anything but. They’re marvelously well screwed together. Over-designed and over-engineered almost to a fault. Fast. Luxurious. But man-o-man o’war are they affected. And now we have this, the wheeled equivalent of an Atlantic City casino, circa May 1984. I’ve got friends that are into Bentleys, but they never seem to talk about the new ones.
Behold The Engine & Powertrain
That is, in certain ways, unfortunate, because the new ones, like the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible are, in their own ways, magnificent beasts. Look no further than the engine room. Beneath the pool table-sized hood, you’ll find an enhanced version of Bentley’s twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 TSI engine. With 650 bhp and 664 lb-ft. of torque, it’s good enough to move this fine Bentley from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds (and top out at 208). That’s even more impressive when you realize the Continental GT Speed weighs about as much bridge abutment: 5,501 lbs.
Chassis & Suspension
Drivers have some pretty cool chassis tech working for them in the new Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible. Bentley wants their cars to feel “progressive and secure.” They do that by using clever chassis control technologies, like All-Wheel Steering, that deliver both body control and ride comfort. There’s Bentley’s three-chamber active air suspension with adaptive damping and Bentley’s Dynamic Ride that uses a 48-volt active anti-roll control system (powerful electric motors within each anti-roll bar that resist body roll).
Turned all the way up, the motors can deliver 959 lb-ft. of torque in 0.3 seconds to counteract cornering forces and keep the body level. Here on this Bentley, that makes perfect sense. You couldn’t put tech like that into a Lotus or something. It would add way too much weight and complexity. But when you’re already dealing with a car that weighs as much as five pool tables, who’s going to notice?
Slowing things down is seen too by optional Carbon Ceramic Brakes, while Bentley’s Active All-Wheel drive distributes traction and torque when and where it’s needed.
Bold Exterior Styling
The exterior is styled about the way you’d expect it to be. Bentley uses phrases like “true sporting purpose” and “effortlessly blends style with performance intent.” They toss around the term “bold presence.” They’re not wrong. No one is ever going to say, “I didn’t notice your New Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible.” And speaking of convertibles, that top (that folds in a “Z” pattern) can go either up or down in just 19 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph.
Styling touches that set the GT Speed Convertible apart are the Dark Tint radiator grille and lower bumper, special sills, and unique badging on the front fender. The 22-inch wheels are offered in matching Dark Tint, with the choice of Bright Silver or a Black Gloss finish. An illuminated Bentley display for the outer treadplate is a nice touch. You can choose any of seven exterior roof colors, including a contemporary interpretation of traditional British tweed along with Black, Blue, Claret, and Grey.
Interior Treatments: Enter The Drawing Room
The interior is like a drawing room in Buckingham Palace: an Alcantara steering wheel, Speed insignia on the passenger fascia, unique color split trim in both hide and Alcantara that come in your choice of 15 primary and 11 secondary hide choices. There’s also Diamond in Diamond quilting and Speed embroidered headrests, while Mono Tone color split with Alcantara/leather is a no-cost option.
The wood choices (of course, there’s wood all over the place inside) include the standard Piano Black veneer, with Crown Cut, Dark Stain Burr Walnut, and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus offered as no-cost options. (In Chad Kroeger’s voice: “Look at this Fiddleback!!”). Open-pore Dark Stain Burr Walnut veneer, Crown Cut Walnut, and Koa are also available. Customers can choose the optional Dark Tint Engine Turned Aluminum console or a leather alternative to the Speed color split trim and the Speed Color Specification.
Finally, a neckwarmer is integrated into the heated and vented seats, optimizing airflow around the electrically adjustable headrests. All to keep you toasty with the top down as you toddle back to your penthouse after a grueling night at the baccarat table.
Pricing & Availability
Price? Dear boy, are you a member of The Lower Classes? Bentley will announce that later, but for now, know that you can order your Continental GT Speed in all markets.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.