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Bentley's GTC gains 455-kW Speed

2009-01-07 07:56
When Bentley thought its Continental GTC needed a little update, it added a new 455-kW GTC Speed model to the range. This model, inspired by legendary "Speed Models" from the 1920s, also happens to be Bentley's most powerful convertible yet.

Subtle styling changes and a few technical adjustments enhance the GTC though the most appealing factor to most will likely be the addition of the GTC Speed model.

Both the standard GTC and GTC Speed models share the GTC's new front end, which has a grille that is more upright and squared off with bolder lower air intakes and chrome headlight clusters.

Although both are powered by the same 6.0-litre W12 engine, in the latter the twin-turbocharged unit produces 455 kW. Pounding torque of 750 Nm is achieved from 1 700 to 5 600 r/min.

The 0-100 km/h sprint is covered in 4.8 seconds. GTC Speed's top-speed with the top down is a cheek-deforming 312 km/h although a statelier 322 km/h is possible with the canvas roof in place.

The Speed's athleticism is reinforced by large diameter 20-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels with Bentley-bespoke Pirelli PZero ultra-high performance tyres, an uprated suspension that is lower by 10 mm at the front and 15 mm at the back. Twin tail pipes and a new boot spoiler complete the look.

Performance figures for the standard GTC remain unchanged. Its peak power figure is 418 kW, top speed remains at 312 km/h and it sprints from a standing start to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds.

Additions aplenty

Bentley's fade-resistant carbon ceramic brakes are an option on both models.

Both models come equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission with Drive, Sport or manual (which allows the driver the change gears sequentially by using the gearlever or steering-wheel mounted shift paddles) modes.

All GTCs are also equipped with an all-wheel drive system using a Torsen differential to direct drive to the front or rear wheels as required.

However, occupant comfort has also been addressed. Cabins are hand crafted in a range of wood veneers and leather hides.

The GTC Speed's interior (which is an option on the standard model) has diamond-quilted leather seats, a chrome and leather gearlever and a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel. The standard GTC also comes with a new Bentley "B" brake pedal.

Electronic aids new to GTC include a radar-based adaptive cruise control system, retuned Servotronic power steering and an advanced ESP that allows the driver to select levels of intervention at low or higher speeds.

No longer reserved for crusty aristocrats, the Continental GTC has been successful in attracting a younger audience to the brand, Bentley said. The latest addition of the GTC Speed won't hurt either, we'll say.

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