Freezing outside? Then it's the perfect time to lower the roof.

Having introduced the new Continental GT and its race car GT3 counterpart, the next logical step Bentley has to take is to unveil the GTC droptop version. Winter testing has already commenced in some parts of the world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean convertibles are being put through their paces with the roof up, even if there's a lot of snow and temperatures around -10° Celsius (-10° Fahrenheit).

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Case in point, our spies have managed to catch on camera a lightly disguised near-production prototype of Crewe’s next GTC with the roof folded. A quick check of the license plate with the U.K.’s Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) shows we’re dealing with a blue car that was being tested with a W12 engine. It’s perfectly understandable why Bentley didn’t bother to properly camouflage (it’s merely a thin body wrap) the car since the styling will pretty much echo the coupe’s elegant lines.

The electrically folding soft top hiding beneath the rear deck will likely cause a weight penalty compared to the GT coupe, which is not exactly a lightweight contender given its hefty 2,244 kilograms (4,947 pounds) weight. In the end, that won’t really matter if you take into account the GTC will use a biturbo W12 engine pushing out a monstrous 626 horsepower (467 kilowatts) and 664 pound-feet (900 Newton-meters).

Although the Continental GTC isn’t being developed to take down the Nürburgring record for the fastest convertible, it should still be one of the fastest out there given the coupe’s performance. The extra weight will have a negative impact on acceleration and top speed, but with the fixed roof model needing 3.7 seconds until 62 mph (100 kph) before hitting 207 mph (333 kph), it means the GTC will still be properly quick and fast.

Further down the line, both Continental models will receive a smaller V8 engine and should also embrace electrification by being offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

As to when we’ll see the GTC, it should happen at a major auto show in the months to come. Our money is on either Detroit in January 2018 or a couple of months later in Geneva.

If you’re thinking the Continental GTC is not flashy enough, you might want to have a look at the Mulsanne-based Grand Convertible unveiled last week in Dubai. It’s a $3.5-million opulent four-seater cabrio limited to 19 cars and fitted with the largest single piece of wood ever seen on a production car.

Photos: CarPix

Gallery: 2019 Bentley Continental GTC spy photos