If you're the Bentley Crew at Crewe (Bentley's Britian-based headquarters), rare is the day you can truly enjoy droptop weather. So, with little in the way of comparison, a Frankfurt reveal of your newest convertible isn't the seasonal disconnect it might appear. And if the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, it should never touch Bentley's newest Continental GTC; it doesn't have a 'plain' bone in its shapely new body.
Built atop the recently redesigned Continental coupe, Bentley's newest droptop combines - according to Bentley - a "bold, contemporary, sculpted design (with a) sensuous, luxurious, hand-crafted cabin." Based on a short drive this spring in a coupe, we'd be hard-pressed to argue with either claim, as the new sheetmetal takes the first gen up a contemporary notch, while the cabin is everything you'd want in today's high-performance, $200K capsule.
For its new, more sculpted stance, Bentley credits advanced manufacturing techniques, allowing the production of aluminum front fenders without the 'unseemly' need for seams or welds. Sitting atop standard 20-inch rims, and with three variations of optional 21-inch wheel available, the end result is sculptured body successfully conveying both Bentley's historic roots and its more recent - under the auspices of parent Volkswagen - reinvention.
Inside, the cabin is both more spacious and sumptuous. Soft-touch leather is accented by wood veneers, cool-to-the-touch metals and deeply luxurious carpet. For the discerning enthusiast, some seventeen soft-touch hides are proffered, along with seven wood veneers. Notably, all are produced in-house. Rear legroom is enhanced in the redesign, along with new storage solutions, touch-screen infotainment and - notably - a Bentley-designed Neck Warmer for top-down comfort regardless of the outside temp.
When raised, the GTC's tailored and multi-layered fabric roof provides coupe-like refinement. And with the addition of acoustic glass and additional underbody insulation, Bentley has gone to appropriate lengths to isolate noise and - we'll guess - reality.
Under its hood, the GTC is graced by a more powerful 6.0 liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine, connected to Bentley's new QuickShift transmission. With these enhancements, and a window sticker of just over $200K, both your driver and financial planner should be pleased with your purchase. See it in Frankfurt, but have it delivered to the apartment in Monaco.
See more coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.
|DAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.|