THE FULL CONTI (some text hidden)
By Andy Enright
Introductionword count: 81
Feel-good motoring doesn't come a lot better than being behind the wheel of an open-topped Bentley. The MK1 GTC versions of Bentley's Continental marry old-school raffishness with the right high tech stuff under the bluff bodywork. Should you want to live out those Woolf Barnato fantasies but don't want to drive a relic, this is most certainly the car to look to. With used examples now starting to appear in reasonable number, you could well pick up a bargain. Here's how.
Modelsword count: 88
2 dr convertible (6.0 petrol [GTC, Speed, Supersports]) Feel-good motoring doesn't come a lot better than being behind the wheel of an open-topped Bentley. The GTC versions of Bentley's Continental marry old-school raffishness with the right high tech stuff under the bluff bodywork. Should you want to live out those Woolf Barnato fantasies but don't want to drive a relic, this is most certainly the car to look to. With used examples now starting to appear in reasonable number, you could well pick up a bargain. Here's how.
Historyword count: 185
The MK1 Bentley Continental GT coupe had already been on sale a full three years before the drop top GTC version first landed in dealerships, firmly establishing itself as the fastest selling vehicle in the company's long history. The MK1 GTC was originally paraded before the world's press at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. Mechanically similar to the Conti GT, the GTC featured two seats and a soft top roof and instantly filled Bentley's order books, rounding out the Continental portfolio into three discrete lines, GT coupe, Flying Spur saloon and GTC convertible. The 200mph GTC Speed model arrived in August 2009, bumping power up from 552 to 600bhp and getting bigger wheels, lower profile tyres and firmer suspension. At the same time, the standard GTC also came in for a facelift, with a more prominent grille, while uprated dampers improved ride quality. Adaptive cruise control and carbon-ceramic brakes appeared on the options list. Still not quick enough? In that case you might well want to squirrel away a few more quid for the Continental Supersports Convertible which packs 621bhp and arrived in autumn 2010.
What You Getword count: 295
I must admit to not being wholly sold on the styling of either the Continental GT coupe or the Flying Spur saloon, but the drop top is a breathtaking piece of design. The stance of the car looks quite different to the coupe's, especially when the hood is raised. With a low turret look effected by a small glasshouse, the GTC's appearance is poised and cohesive. Drop the roof and it looks even better. A stainless steel ring runs around the whole cabin and the longer rear deck looks neatly composed. Bentley have striven to avoid the large number of shutlines and creases that are often part and parcel of packaging a convertible roof and the rear of the GTC is extremely clean. The hood itself deserves a mention. Although it's not the quickest folding mechanism around at 25 seconds from roof up to roof down, it's nevertheless a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. With seven bows to preserve stiffness, it features a triple lined fabric construction to ensure the best acoustic and thermal insulation properties. The outer layer is thicker than that of any convertible while the middle insulating layer is also a good deal thicker than the entire roof sections of most drop tops. The inner layer is made from high quality cloth which echoes the roof lining of Bentleys from yesteryear. Even during the operation of the roof, not one mechanical part is visible. A heated glass rear window is a necessity and there's even an interior light incorporated into the headlining. A neat convenience feature is that the roof can be operated even after pulling away at speeds of up to 20mph, so there's not that anxiety you often get when attempting to operate a soft top in a traffic light queue.
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