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LA show: Bentley lifts lid on Continental GT

Bentley’s Continental GT Convertible is faster, quieter in third-generation form

27 Nov 2018

BENTLEY Motors has revealed the Convertible version of its third-generation Continental GT grand tourer, which is faster, quieter and more expensive than the preceding model.
 
Speaking to GoAuto, Bentley Motors Australia and New Zealand retail marketing manager Emma Ireland confirmed that the Convertible starts from $462,240.50 before on-road costs, with customer deliveries to start in the second quarter next year.
 
As such, the Convertible is $21,192.50 dearer than its predecessor and $39,740.50 pricier than the new-generation Continental GT Coupe that entered Australian showrooms in September.
 
Set to make its international debut at the Los Angeles motor show this week, the all-new Convertible features a soft top that can be lowered or raised in 19 seconds when travelling at speeds up to 50km/h.
 
Using a Z-fold system with improved insulation, sealing and acoustics, the Convertible’s overall noise levels have been reduced by three decibels, compared to its predecessor at cruising speeds. As a result, it is as quiet as the second-generation Continental GT Coupe.
 
The fabric roof is available in seven external colours, including a traditional British tweed finish for the first time, while it is also offered in eight internal hues.
 
Thanks to the combination of aluminium and high-tensile steel, the Convertible’s body-in-white structure is both stiffer and lighter than before, with torsional rigidity and overall weight improved by five and 20 per cent respectively.
 
The Convertible’s cabin caters for winter use with redesigned neckwarmers and heating for its seats, steering wheel and armrests, the latter of which is another first. Ventilation and massage functionality are also offered with the 20-way power-adjustable front pews.
 
In all other regards, the Convertible mirrors the specification of its Coupe sibling, including the 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 petrol engine that produces 467kW of power at 6000rpm and 900Nm of torque from 1350 to 4000rpm – up 33kW and 180Nm.
 
A ZF-sourced eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission replaces the former torque-convertor unit and sends these outputs to an active all-wheel-drive system that directs up to 38 per cent of torque to the front axle.
 
As a result, the 2414kg Convertible can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds while on the way to its top speed of 333km/h – improvements of 0.9s and 3km/h.
 
The Convertible’s claimed fuel consumption on the WLTP combined cycle test is 14.0 litres per 100 kilometres, while its carbon dioxide emissions have been tested at 317 grams per kilometre using the same standard.
 
An idle-stop system with coasting functionality, and cylinder deactivation technology, which turns the W12 into a V6, help to optimise the Convertible’s fuel efficiency.
 
Shared equipment between the Convertible and Coupe include Matrix LED headlights, a 48V electrical system, active anti-roll bars and independent suspension with three-chamber air springs and adaptive dampers.
 
Inside, a 12.3-inch touchscreen MMI infotainment system, satellite navigation with live traffic, Apple CarPlay support, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a head-up display feature.
 
Advanced driver-assist systems extend to autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, and night vision.
 
According to Bentley Motors chairman and chief executive officer Adrian Hallmark, the Convertible could only be developed by one high-end car-maker and coincides with a key milestone.
 
“Elegant understatement that forces you to look; engineering excellence you’ll take for granted – the extraordinary breadth of capabilities offered by the new Continental GT Convertible is unique and can only be offered by our noble British brand,” he said.
 
“We have been building luxury grand tourers since the company was founded in 1919 and, as we approach our centenary year, the Continental GT Convertible joins a highly acclaimed range – arguably the strongest and most technologically advanced portfolio of products the world has ever seen in one luxury brand.”
 
Sales of the Continental GT have taken a significant hit this year, with 68 examples sold to the end of October – an 18.1 per cent decrease over the 83 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.
 
As a result, the Continental GT is currently the equal seventh best-selling sportscar in the $200,000-plus segment, trailing Porsche’s 911 (470 units), Ferrari’s model line-up (197), Mercedes-AMG’s GT (154), and Aston Martin’s (121) and Lamborghini’s (102) coupe and convertible models, among others.

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