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Frankfurt show: Bentley previews Conti GTC convertible

Wind in one's hair: Bentley has revealed its new Continental GTC luxury convertible.

Local orders for second-gen Bentley Continental GTC to commence before year’s end

24 Aug 2011

BRITISH uber-luxury marque Bentley has unveiled its second-generation Continental GTC convertible ahead of its public debut at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

The new GTC gets the same mechanical and dynamic upgrades as the recently-released Continental GT on which it is based, as well as interior revisions and subtle styling changes.

The company will begin taking Australian orders for the sumptuous soft-top before the end of this year, with customer deliveries commencing in 2012.

Bentley’s regional manager for Southeast Asia and Australasia Ed Striebig told GoAuto there has been “significant” interest in the forthcoming GTC from prospective local buyers.

“We’ve had a lot of customer interest in when we would be bringing the new convertible to the marketplace, he said, adding that enquiries were “sparked” by the recent introduction of the brand’s new Continental GT coupe.

Mr Striebig also said local inquiries were not limited to existing Continental GTC owners but also owners of other vehicles who had “seen the new design of the coupe and are anticipating something similar from the convertible.”

The external styling has received the same evolutionary changes over its predecessor as did the GT coupe, including a more muscular stance highlighted by newly standard 20-inch wheels, jewelled LED daytime-running lights and a similar ‘double horseshoe’ rear profile to the flagship Mulsanne limo.

54 center imageThe convertible will continue to roll off the Crewe production line with a folding fabric soft-top, which Bentley claims has been refined by the addition of acoustic glass and under-body panels to maximise noise isolation.

Advanced manufacturing techniques at the Volkswagen-owned brand’s UK factory have also produced aluminium front wings without seams or welds, which Bentley says create “the look and feel of a coachbuilt car.”

The sharpened 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 powerplant at the heart of the car now produces 423kW and 700Nm of peak torque (up 12kW and 50Nm on the previous model) and can run on ethanol-based E85 fuel.

Bentley has also lopped 70kg from the kerb weight of the second-generation GTC, meaning the big soft-top can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds (down from 5.1 in the previous model), while top speed is a claimed 314 km/h.

The engine is mated to a slick new Quickshift six-speed automatic transmission, which cuts shift times by up to 50 per cent and enables double downshifts.

The second-generation convertible features the same under-body changes at the new GT coupe, including a wider track, retuned suspension and a new 40:60 front/rear split for the all-wheel drive system (compared to an even 50:50 on the old model).

GoAuto drove the new Continental GT coupe in New Zealand in May and found that these changes created a more engaging and dynamic driving experience.

Improvements to the hand-crafted cabin include the soft-touch leather hides, extensive range of wood veneers, cool-touch metals and deep-pile carpets.

There are said to be 17 standard soft-touch leather hide colours with six colour-split combinations to choose from, as well as a range of seven veneers produced by Bentley’s own craftsmen and women.

The dash also gets features such as a touch-screen infotainment system, automatic seat-belt presenters and specially-designed neck warmers should Sir wish to take a sojourn through cold climes with the roof down.

Bentley also says the new interior frees up additional rear legroom, making the GTC more of a true 2+2 proposition, while new storage solutions are said to improve the car’s everyday practicality.

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