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Detroit show: Bentley goes for Speed

Top off: Bentley's new top-shelf Continental, the GTC Speed, packs 448kW.

Bentley's new Continental GTC Speed does more than 300km/h - with the top down

13 Jan 2009

BENTLEY released its fastest-ever convertible at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.

The Continental GTC Speed drop-top follows the GT Speed coupe released in August 2007. It has the same upgraded 12-cylinder powerplant that enables the ultimate cruiser to blast from 0-100km/h in around 4.5 seconds.

Put the roof back in place and the GTC Speed convertible is able to hit an impressive top speed of 322km/h. If you must leave the lid down, the GTC Speed is still able to reach a respectable top speed of 314 km/h.

54 center imageLike the regular GT Speed coupe, the convertible runs a twin-turbo W12 that generates a whopping 448kW of power, a 9 per cent increase on the already potent standard W12 engine. The torque output is even more impressive, rising 15 per cent to an incredible 750Nm. Even better, this monstrous pulling power is available all the way from 1700rpm through to 5600rpm. The six-speed automatic can act as a pseudo manual when required or as a normal self-shifter.

Bentley has lowered the suspension 10mm at the front and 15mm at the rear to improve the handling of the GTC Speed. It also has retuned the power steering to give the driver more response.

Bentley has fitted the GTC Speed with wider 9.5x20-inch alloy wheels, which are wrapped in specially developed 275/35-section Pirelli PZero high-performance tyres.

Bentley is hardly the kind of company to go fitting spoilers to its elegant machines, but it has mounted one on the boot of the GTC Speed to keep it stable at high speeds.

Like the Speed coupe, the convertible is available with optional carbon-ceramic brakes with larger 420mm front discs and 356mm rear discs. These whopping anchors use eight-piston callipers to pull the blistering Bentley up in a hurry and are also 20kg lighter than the standard brakes.

Apart from the unique wheels and spoiler, the GTC Speed also features mild styling tweaks, including a new bolder grille, larger front air intake, lower front bumper and new side skirts.

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