Merc’s entry-level hot hatch has grown a boot to take on the Audi S3 Saloon
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The Top Gear car review:Bentley Continental GTC
For:Massively fast and surprisingly fun to drive, excellent interior
Against:It'll be ruinously expensive to run and the image is still rather Cheshire. Can feel its weight at times
What is it?
A Bentley Continental GT - surely one of the world’s finest grand tourers - with a limitless amount of headroom, thanks to a z-fold fabric roof that can be stowed or erected in 19 seconds at up to 30mph. It competes with the Aston Martin DB11 Volante and Ferrari Portofino, among others.
Indeed, there aren’t many differences between the Continental GT Convertible - or GTC - and the coupe on which it’s based. Except the roof, obviously, which brings with it strengthening in the form of much bracing and metalwork. The structure is five per cent stiffer than before, while aluminium panels mean the body is 20 per cent lighter.
And happily, substantially better-looking. The old Continental GT was a not an unattractive car, but this new one moves things on. Bentley’s moved the front axle forward by 135mm, improving weight distribution by shifting the engine lower and further back in the chassis. This means the front overhang can be much shorter, which together with the longer rear overhang gives the GTC a much better profile than the car it replaces.
Things have moved on mechanically, too. The engine is still a W12 with a couple of turbochargers for good measure, but now there’s more power and torque, plus cylinder deactivation for better economy. Still drives all four wheels, but now through an eight-speed DSG rather than a torque-converter auto. Three-chamber air suspension aims to give a silky smooth ride, while a 48-volt active roll control system is tasked with keeping the GTC’s substantial mass in check through the corners.