Bentley GTC Speed

Open-top Continental GT becomes world's fastest four-seater drop top

Bentley has tweaked its Continental GTC convertible range and added a Speed variant. The Conti GT coupe and Flying Spur saloon have each spawned a sportier version in recent years, with the Speed coupe becoming the brand's top seller across the globe.

The GTC Speed - the most powerful convertible yet made by Bentley - is anticipated to account for a third of open-top GT sales. It shares the twin-turbo W12 engine with the standard GTC, but at 600bhp, it boasts an extra 48bhp while torque is up 15 per cent to 553lb ft. An impressive figure, and one that's accessible from 1700 to 5600rpm. That helps push the Speed to 60mph in 4.5sec and right up to the magical 200mph, although if you want to keep the roof down the top speed is very slightly pegged back to 195. Nevertheless, it's the world's fastest four seat Cabrio and the second-fastest way to transport four people available...

The Speed's suspension is lowered 10mm at the front and 15mm at the rear while springs, dampers and anti-roll bars are tweaked although this is apparently for optimised ride comfort rather than toughening up the GTC for some ungentlemanly driving. The stability control does get a 'Dynamic mode' however, which promises progressive intervention rather than constant nannying.

The car gets all-wheel drive, with power controlled via a centre differential while the W12 is mated to a six-speed automatic that can also be controlled manually via the gearlever or steering wheel paddles. Spotting a Speed compared to a standard GTC is possible via a discreet rear spoiler, rifled exhaust pipes and unique 20in multi-spoke alloys which come wrapped in bespoke 275/35 Pirelli P Zero tyres.

Both the Speed and the standard GTC benefit from tweaked styling, which includes a broader and more upright front grille that also improves airflow to the stonking six-litre under the bonnet. All GTCs can be specified with fade-resistant carbon ceramic brakes (the largest production passenger car brakes in the world, apparently, at 420mm front/356mm rear) and an adaptive cruise control system that scans traffic ahead and adjusts throttle and brake accordingly.

The enhanced GTC starts at £129,700 while the all-new GTC Speed begins at £146,100. You can watch our video of the Continental GT Speed versus its rivals.

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