Car news

02 January 2013

Bentley GT Speed Convertible revealed

World’s fastest four-seat drop-top arrives, 325kph top speed courtesy of monster W12

Vijay Pattni
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If you're reading this, then either the Mayan apocalypse has failed to materialise, or it did happen, and you're trapped inside some kind of TopGear purgatory. Welcome.

Time then, to meet the new Bentley GT Speed Convertible, revealed here on the Internet ahead of it's proper, touchy-feely worldwide debut at the Detroit motor show. And that headline means it has a top speed of 325kph - the same as the 621bhp Supersports drop-top. It's Bentley's way of saying "325kph is quite fast enough for a convertible thank you very much".

Not that you'd feel short changed in this new GT Speed Convertible mind; it produces 616bhp and a rather enormous 800Nm of torque from that 6.0-litre W12 engine, to help propel its considerable 2,495kg kerbweight from 0-100kph in just 4.1 seconds. 0-160kph takes just 9.7 seconds, a tenth off the GT Speed Coupe's pace.

It might be a mighty big hammer, that W12, but it's a clever old one. Bentley tells us its ECU is capable of performing 180 million individual calculations per second. It's all hooked up to an eight-speed auto with a ‘Sport' mode, delivering sharper throttle responses and gearshifts, and a "baritone snarl" from the exhaust. We like snarly exhausts here at TopGear.

The revised air suspension on this new GT Speed Convertible sits 10mm lower than the Continental GT drop-top, together with stiffer suspension bushes and uprated anti-roll bars. The stability control has also been tweaked, allowing increased wheel slip at higher speeds.

It comes with 21in ‘Speed' alloy wheels, a new matrix radiator grille and chrome bumper air intakes, while inside it's all handcrafted luxury; there are treadplates with ‘Speed' on them, diamond quilted leather, an ‘engine spin' finish reminiscent of the Le Mans winning Bentleys of the ‘20s, and a huge infotainment system.

Prices to be confirmed, but expect to pay a little chunk more than the GT Speed. Like it? There's certainly an air of history about this thing: the first ever Bentley ‘Speed' was a drop-top too, with a top speed of 160kph. Today's Continental GT Speed is therefore twice as fast. Give it another 100 years, and you'll be reading about a 480kph Bentley Speed. If the apocalypse hasn't happened, of course...

Tags: bentley, gt speed, continental, continental gt speed convertible

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