From the British luxury sport car makers comes the fastest four seat convertible in the world. Even faster than the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG or the BMW M6.
The Bentley Continental GT ‘Speed’ Convertible – yes the name’s quite a mouthfull – is capable of speeds over 330 km per hour and is amongst the fastest series – production cars ever built, slamming 0-100 in well under ten seconds.
In 2012, Bentley upgraded the 6 litre twin turbo W12 producing an output of 567 bhp to that producing 616 bhp. This year they decided the tweak wasn’t enough and there was need of yet some more ‘punch’, and the 6 litre W12 has been retuned to churn out another 10 bhp, bringing the total power output to 626 bhp.
With a very impressive ZF 8HP transmission – one of Bentley’s finest – that allows you to choose between manual selection through column mounted paddle shifters and through a centrally mounted gear selector and a sport mode. There are eight speed gears that at best keep the driver quite occupied and the pursuit for the best gear is continuous and requires consistency on the driver’s part, and even the smallest rewards are adrenaline inducing. However, any sudden climbs and bursts of acceleration give a good beating to the mileage.
The new Speed sounds far better than the previous W-12, and the sound is further accentuated by choosing between the Manual and the sport mode, and the difference between the two is very clear even when the car is idling. The engine load and speed also decide how the exhaust note varies between the two extremes of a deep bass growl and a loud wail that would make one’s hair stand on end.
Weighing around 2500 kg, the Bentley is not really a sports car; but still plays comfortably on some of the tightest of curves, and that too despite the weight. The suspension has been lowered and stiffened and the steering has undergone retuning. The on-board stability control has been reprogrammed for better response and precision. Like all the Continentals, the all-wheel drive system is split 60/40 between the front and the rear wheel sets.
The air suspension is adjustable through four different settings, all equally comfortable for the quickest of spins and the most relaxed of cruises alike. The steering is precise while entering corners and is slightly light to feel. The car responds to weight shifts with great agility and positioning while getting into corners is quite easy. There is some understeer that isn’t very noticeable since steps have been taken to reduce it greatly in comparison to the earlier models. Carbon ceramic brakes come as an option, and don’t bite as hard as one would expect them to.
The chassis fits in perfectly with the discretion in speed and performance as cleverly concealed by the car’s visual cues. There are minor visual changes to the Speed like the blackened front grille, the 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels with 275/35 section tyres and modified exhaust tips. The sports ‘mulliner’ specification is standard unlike the other models where it comes only as an option with an extra fee.
Massaging seats and neck warmers
The fabric top is simply an amazing feat of engineering that blocks rain water, wind force and engine and surrounding noise upto speeds of 300 kmph and beyond. High speeds are easily welcomed and despite, the cabin feels secure.
The interiors are equally sporty and supple, and the convertible comes fitted with leather stretching across the beautiful dashboard and onto the three spoke steering wheel. With two tone colouring, the interior parts also feature contrasting stitching.
The cabin surprisingly quiet with near-silence is disrupted only by its impressive Naim Premium audio system that fills it up with great sound clarity and a deep bass output.
The leather seats have heating and massaging apparatus embedded and the headrest comes with neck warmers, probably to let one know that driving with the top down in the middle of the winter season is now possible without the fear of freezing to death.
The Bentley Continental GT Speed is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a cross between something that gives them the speed and power of a supercar and the strength and stability of an SUV, and at a price of nearly 2 crores plus taxes it just might be the dream car that most of us imagine in our ultimate garage.