Bentley Continental GTC
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 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.
The GTC 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.
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.
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 200 mph (320 km/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 utilizes 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.
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 sculpted rear which produces an additional 30 mm (1.2 inches) of knee-space in the rear. In the rear of the Continental GTC the center console finishes with a veneered panel just behind the front armrests, therefore leaving the rear seats as an uninterrupted surface of leather hide, optimizing the maximum space for the proportion of the car.
As with all Bentley interior design, great attention to detail has been paid to the jewelery 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 aluminum, it folds and stores in the boot when not in use.
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.
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.
There was one clear target when Bentley’s engineering team began work on the Continental GTC: to create a convertible that drives exactly like its coupé counterpart. By removing the roof – an integral part of the body structure that provides stiffness to the chassis – a convertible has a tendency to shake or vibrate when driven.
Consequently, the Continental GTC’s engineers were determined to rid the car of any such ‘scuttle shake’ and began an extensive development programme aimed at ensuring the Continental GTC’s steel body had a torsional stiffness in the region of 30Hz – an incredible figure for a convertible.
To hit that target the engineers added significant steel reinforcement to the sills as well as additional cross braces that run beneath the cabin. Strengthened steel tubing was also used in the A-pillars and windscreen surround. To remove unwanted resonance – as vital a task as ensuring stiffness – a great deal of time was also spent improving the mountings for the rear subframe. Despite the significant reinforcement to the car’s body, the weight of the car has risen by just 110 kg over the Continental GT coupé, to 2495 kg (5500 lb). Vibration, too, was eradicated, resulting in exceptional levels of ride comfort and refinement.
The convertible roof with rollover protection
The second target for the engineering team was to ensure that the car’s folding roof was as refined as possible while still fitting into a small stowage area behind the rear seats. Folding flat in just 25 seconds is a remarkable feat in itself for this complex, seven-bow, fabric roof. But just as impressive is its state-of-the-art three layer construction. The Continental GTC’s roof has superb acoustic-damping fabrics, with a thicker, more padded outer layer than is used in any other convertible. The ‘sandwich’ is also a thick, insulating layer while the third inner layer is made from the highest quality cloth material that echoes the roof lining on Bentleys of yesteryear.
Not only are the materials the best available, but the construction and packaging of the roof are second to none. Its designers were keen that absolutely all working parts would be covered, which means that whether you are inside the car as the roof is in operation or watching from the outside, not one piece of the mechanism will be visible.
The roof comes with a heated glass rear window and also an interior rooflamp in the headlining. It can be operated after pulling away from standstill at speeds up to 30 km/h (20 mph).
To ensure occupant safety, an advanced rollover protection system is installed beneath the rear headrests. If the car’s onboard computer senses that the car is about to roll during an accident, two reinforced steel hoops are deployed in a split second, thereby working in conjunction with the exceptionally strong windshield frame to protect passengers in the front and rear seats.
To cater for the Continental GTC’s sleek design and packaging requirements, a new rear suspension was created. The convertible shares the same suspension system as its coupé equivalent – a four-link arrangement at the front and a trapezoidal multi-link rear axle with computer-controlled air springs and fully variable, electronically controlled shock absorbers in place of conventional coils.
Source: Bentley press