With a top speed of 195mph (312km/h), a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, state-of-the-art 12-cylinder engine, advanced air suspension and ultra-stiff body structure, the Continental GTC displays all the poise, exhilarating performance and dynamic handling of the Continental GT.
In common with its stable mates, the interior of the new Continental GTC provides an unrivalled standard of craftsmanship, utilising natural wood veneers and leather hides of the finest quality, which are on full display when you lower the elegant, electro-hydraulically operated soft-top roof.
“The Continental GTC is the most distinctive new Bentley yet,” explains Bentley Motors’ Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen. “It is very elegant and at the same time effortlessly modern. It will appeal to many different customers: people who are tired of driving sports cars that require too much effort; people who want to move up from more standard convertibles; and people who want to make a statement about what they drive, yet still own a car that they can use every day of the year.”
The Continental GTC becomes the second convertible to grace the current Bentley range. It follows the recently announced return of the evocative Azure name for Bentley’s Arnage-derived flagship four-seater convertible.
While the Azure offers the ultimate glamour, sophistication and accommodation for adults in supreme comfort, the 2+2 Continental GTC is designed for customers looking to enjoy the phenomenal performance, style and excitement of the Continental GT with the additional benefits of classic open-top Bentley motoring.
The Continental GTC is an open-top 2+2 in true Bentley tradition. Its convertible nature means that every sensation of driving is transmitted to the driver and passengers yet the Continental GTC succeeds in offering something more for the senses, as Bentley Motors’ Design Director Dirk van Braeckel reveals:
“The sporting stance of the Continental GTC is unique and quite different from the Continental GT coupé, with its compact soft top and longer rear deck. And with the roof down the exterior becomes a showcase for the hand-crafted interior.”
The new car blends clear Continental lineage with its own personality and character – a unique mix of sporting dynamism and the added elegance you expect from a convertible. That means the new car has simple, clean lines that are unimpeded by the shutlines and creases that so many convertibles and retractable hard-tops are forced to adopt in order to package the roof when it is folded. Head of Exterior Design, Raul Pires, explains the process:
“Our ambition was to produce a design that was simple and elegant – that was very important. We worked very closely with the engineers to get a very clean rear deck and bootlid. If you look at the front and the rear of the car you can see we achieved this by echoing the flow of the bonnet lines into the radiator at the front with the bootlid lines into the rear bumper. It gives the car real balance.”
To ensure that the design was not compromised in any way, the Continental GTC’s engineering team was charged with creating a completely new rear suspension package that allowed the rear design of the car to be kept as compact as possible while still giving enough space to stow the roof when folded. Similarly, a great deal of time was spent on ensuring that the soft fabric roof is perfectly taut and not ‘bowed’ or ‘pitched’ when raised.
“When you see the Continental GTC with the roof up, the weight bias is moved towards the back,” explains Raul Pires. “The glass area appears to be a little smaller than on the coupé version and the cabin looks so low that it has this great sportscar feel.”
As on the entire Continental range, the GTC’s design has also been influenced by the need to ensure perfect aerodynamic balance at speeds close to 200mph (320km/h). The convertible spent many hours in the wind tunnel to ensure a low drag coefficient and like the coupé and four-door versions it utilises an underbody diffuser and specially sculpted rear bumper and bootlid edge to provide downforce and stability at high speed.
By its very nature a convertible Bentley is the perfect car to demonstrate the unparalleled craftsmanship and luxury which abounds throughout its cabin. Robin Page, Head of Interior Design, explains the importance of ensuring that the exterior and interior designs work in harmony:
“With the roof stowed you immediately notice how the interior is beautifully framed by a continuous strip of stainless steel that runs around the waist line. Within this frame the interior is a combination of the finest handcrafted leather, wood and polished metals. It is the ultimate showcase for the skills of Bentley’s incredible craftsmen and craftswomen.”
The symmetrical theme of the fascia, which echoes the shape of the Bentley wings, is reflected through the cabin and onto the leather hide tonneau cover. As with a tailor-made suit, the tonneau cover has carefully positioned stitch lines, highlighting its form and craftsmanship.
The front seats have a new sculpted rear which produces an additional 30mm (1.2 inches) of knee-space in the rear.
In the rear of the Continental GTC the centre console finishes with a veneered panel just behind the front armrests, therefore leaving the rear seats as an uninterrupted surface of leather hide, optimising the maximum space for the proportion of the car.
As with all Bentley interior design, great attention to detail has been paid to the jewellery in the car, using a mix of polished and satin metals, such as you might find in modern watch design. Between the rear seats there is access to allow skis to be passed through from the boot area. The boot can also hold two golf bags, and of course plenty of luggage, making this a truly practical convertible.
The inner roof of the Continental GTC is trimmed with a very high quality fabric that looks like the slung headliner in the original coachbuilt Bentleys. Customers have a choice of eight headlining colours enabling them to create a luxuriously light feel or a darker, more sporting ambience.
Naturally, wood veneers and leather hides remain an integral part of the Bentley furniture and, when on show in the convertible Continental GTC, prove that these most traditional materials can convey a truly contemporary feel. Though craftsmanship remains as important as ever, these enduring skills have been complemented by some 21st century technology allowing, for instance, wood veneer to be dramatically curved in a way that would simply not have been possible in the past.
Small but ingenious design touches highlight the difference between a Bentley and other cars. For example, a beautiful satin metal wind-stop can be attached across the rear seats. Made of chrome and aluminium, it folds and stores in the boot when not in use.
Sharing much of its specification with its Continental GT and Flying Spur stablemates, the key craftsmanship attributes of the Continental GTC convertible are:
- Burr walnut wood veneers applied to the fascia, upper door trim and front console.
- Choice of alternative veneers: Birds Eye Maple, Madrona, Piano Black, Dark-stained Burr walnut
- Wood veneers are cut using the latest laser technology. They are then lacquered by hand before being machined and polished.
- The finished wood veneer is applied to new aluminium substrates that are more thermally stable than before, enhancing durability and flexibility.
- The wood veneer is, as with all Bentleys, book-matched to create perfect symmetry, with one side exactly reflecting the other.
- Bentley is unique among car makers in using natural, unbleached wood veneers.
- Premium A-grade leather hides in one of 17 colours cover the seating, door panels, waistrails, dashboard and rear tonneau cover.
- Carpets and seatbelts to match all hides.
- The finest leather hides are imported from Northern Europe because insects that can damage the quality of the finished leather don’t like colder climates.
- Hide-trimmed multi-function steering wheel and chrome-trimmed gear selector.
- It takes approximately eight hours to trim a steering wheel.
- The steering wheel is double-stitched by hand using two needles simultaneously.
- Classic Bentley brightwork decorates the Continental GTC. Iconic symbols such as the ‘Winged B’ badge and the matrix grille grace the exterior, while bulls-eye ventilation outlets with their organ stop controls sit alongside unique chrome knurled switchgear that was inspired by blending contemporary jewellery with switches from vintage Bentleys.
Interior features and technology
Continental GTC owners will want for nothing inside their car, whether behind the wheel or enjoying the ride as a passenger. The car is equipped with the latest advanced cabin technology from its electro-hydraulically operated soft fabric roof, power-latching doors and fully adjustable electric front seats (that are also heated with an optional massage function), to its climate control and advanced infotainment system.
Interior key features:
- True 2+2 configuration with improved rear legroom over Continental GT coupé.
- Fully adjustable electric front seats incorporating three-position memory (seats, steering column, exterior mirrors) and electric lumbar control with optional massage facility.
- Rear seat panel removable to reveal lockable ski hatch.
- Electronic climate control system.
- Comprehensive infotainment system includes:
- DVD satellite navigation system with route guidance and post-code entry
- Optional television tuner (except for US market)
- Premium audio system
- Climate control operation
- Computerised suspension control operation (damper and ride height settings).
- 6-CD auto changer in glove compartment.
- Bluetooth TM remote SIM access profile telephone system with wireless connectivity for rSAP-enabled telephones, most BluetoothTM-enabled telephones and onboard SIM-card reader.
- Telephone voice dialling (n/a Japan)
- Keyless entry and keyless ignition system.
- Power latching to both doors for easy exit and entry.
- Console-mounted start/stop button (in conjunction with keyless ignition).
- Electronic park brake with move-off assist (move-off assist n/a for USA).
- Column-mounted gearshift paddles.
- Stainless steel-faced foot pedals and driver’s footrest.
- Comprehensive anti-theft and immobiliser systems.
- A range of Mulliner options is available from launch, enabling each customer to personalise the specification of his or her new Continental GTC. These comprise:
- Aluminium fascia panels
- Contrast stitching to seats and door panels and embossed ‘BENTLEY’ to seat facings
- 4-spoke wood and hide steering wheel
- Lambswool rugs for front footwells
- Deep-pile carpet mats with hide trimming
- Choice of premium veneers
- Mulliner alloy fuel filler cap
Exterior features and technology
The Continental GTC combines the finest Bentley traditions and craftsmanship with highly advanced automotive technology. Wherever modern solutions have been introduced on the car, however, these are never to the detriment of driving enjoyment or passenger comfort. At Bentley we don’t believe in overloading our cars, or our customers, with technology that they don’t need or may never use. On the Continental GTC every feature content or safety system must make a case for itself before being added. What’s more, the full features list is almost entirely standard, meaning customers won’t be forced to trawl through an exhaustive options list at additional cost.
Exterior key features:
- Traditional Bentley matrix grille integrated into bonnet and famed black winged ‘B’ badge to radiator shell, bootlid and wheel centres.
- Twin bi-xenon headlamps with integrated washer jets to front.
- High-intensity LED tail and stop lights and discrete high-level stop-lamp integrated into body at base of hood.
- Rear spoiler styled into bootlid operates in conjunction with underbody diffuser to provide enhanced high-speed stability, contributing to a low drag coefficient.
- 19-inch 5-spoke single piece sports alloy wheels in painted finish as standard. (Alternative 19- and 20-inch sports alloy wheels available as extra cost options.)
- Electronic Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
- Traditional Bentley twin oval stainless steel tail pipes.
- High-gloss front brake callipers (in black) with Bentley-branded aluminium plates.
- Infra-red laminated glazing to front screen and side windows (dependent on market).
- Rain-sensing windscreen wiper system.
- Choice of 15 exterior paint colours.
- Fabric hood with a choice of five colours.
- Colour-keyed electronically adjusted door mirrors with heating, power-folding and memory function. Electrochromatically linked to internal rear-view mirror (a light-sensitive device to prevent glare when driving).