Bentley's new Continental GT Speed Convertible
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4th January, 2013
The Continental GT Speed Convertible, Bentley’s new open-top performance
flagship - and the world’s fastest four-seat convertible - makes its motor show this month at the Detroit Motor Show, in
The new GT Speed Convertible combines the sensory pleasures of roof-down luxury touring with the shattering
performance of a 625 PS (616 bhp) twin-turbocharged 6.0 litre W12, while delivering a fifteen per cent improvement in
fuel efficiency. The close-ratio eight-speed transmission, uprated and lowered suspension and retuned steering provide
exhilarating acceleration and sharp, communicative handling without detriment to the renowned ride comfort of Bentley’s
Continental convertible. Permanent all-wheel drive ensures optimum traction and power delivery regardless of the road
Taking its place at the pinnacle of the Bentley Continental range, the new GT Speed Convertible has a top speed of 202
mph (325 km/h) and in the traditional Bentley manner, no compromises have been made in craftsmanship, luxury or
refinement to deliver this unrivalled performance.
Subtle sporting design cues include exclusive 21-inch alloy wheels, dark-tint grilles and ‘rifled’ exhaust tail pipes.
Inside its handcrafted cabin, the GT Speed convertible features the Mulliner Driving Specification as standard, blending
contemporary luxury with a distinctly sporting character.
Commenting on the new Continental GT Speed Convertible, Bentley Chairman and Chief Executive Dr Wolfgang Schreiber
said: "Following the recent successful introduction of the GT Speed, the new GT Speed Convertible will appeal to
drivers who seek the sensory thrills of the world’s fastest four-seat soft-top and the practicality of a year-round grand
tourer, together with unrivalled levels of luxury and refinement. It is designed for those who accept no
Powertrain: 12 cylinders, 625 PS (616 bhp) and 8 gears
The new Continental GT Speed convertible shares its powertrain specification with its Bentley stable mate the GT Speed
coupé. The 625 PS (616 bhp) twin-turbocharged, 48-valve, W12 engine powers the new convertible to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds
(0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds) and onto a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h). Nought to 100 mph (160 km/h approx.) is
despatched in only 9.7 seconds. Peak torque – an impressive 800 Nm (590 lb.ft) – is reached at just 2,000 revs/min and
maintains that level through to 5,000 revs/min for effortless, refined performance at all times.
The latest ME17 engine management system, capable of performing 180 million individual calculations per second,
provides enhanced turbocharger control and torque management, enhancing driveability. In common with all W12-engined
models, the GT Speed convertible features an energy recuperation system. Together with a close-ratio, quick-shifting
eight-speed transmission, this has resulted in a 15 per cent improvement in fuel economy and CO2 emissions compared with
the first generation Speed, with a commensurate increase in tank range.
The new GT Speed Convertible’s powertrain is even more tractable than its Speed predecessor, and just as
fuel-efficient as the new W12 Continental GT. Switching the gear selector to ‘Sport’ mode however demonstrates the dual
personality of the new GT Speed convertible, delivering a sharper throttle response, gear-shifting at higher engine
speeds and faster ‘block shifting’ (eg 8th direct to 4th gear) for instantly accessible acceleration. The enhanced
performance is accentuated by a glorious "baritone snarl" (Bentley's words) from the free-breathing exhaust, a thrilling
soundtrack to the magnificent powerhouse under the bonnet.
Chassis; lower, sharper and more involving
With torsional stiffness a class-leading 22,500 Nm/degree, the body shell of the Continental GT Speed convertible is
exceptionally rigid, laying the perfect foundation for a more engaging driving experience. The aluminium double-wishbone
front suspension and trapezoidal multi-link rear set-up feature revised air suspension springs and dampers for improved
agility and body control with little sacrifice in ride comfort.
The self-levelling system is set 10 mm lower than the 575PS Continental GT convertible. Stiffer suspension bushes
ensure sharp, communicative handling, while uprated anti-roll bars optimise the handling balance. The result is improved
body control under hard cornering together with greater agility and, because steering plays an essential role in feeding
response and grip back to the driver, the Servotronic steering has also been recalibrated for the Speed specification.
The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is optimised for the new engine management system to deliver both
outstanding safety and greater driver involvement. The ESC system retains the “Dynamic Mode” setting that allows
increased wheel slip at higher speeds, with engine torque reinstated more quickly after a system intervention. Together,
these systems give the keen driver more opportunity to exploit the full potential of the new chassis set-up and higher
Exterior – the darker side of Bentley design
From outside, the Continental GT Speed convertible is distinguished by a matrix radiator grille and bumper air intakes
in a dark-tint chrome finish. The 21” Speed alloy wheels are unique to this model, and are available in silver or an
optional dark tint. Large, elliptical exhaust tailpipes feature a rifled interior, while a further, subtle design touch
is revealed when the bonnet is opened – the black inlet manifold is unique to the Continental Speed models. As with the
GT Speed coupé, the winged ‘B’ badge which crowns the radiator shell is set upon a black enamel background.
The front mudguards of the GT Speed Convertible are made in superformed aluminium, their seamless form and
crisply-defined body creases make an impression of tension and 'muscularity'. The 10 mm lower suspension and unique 21”
wheels accentuate the wide, low and poised stance. Despite the super car performance, additional spoilers are unnecessary
– the gentle lip on the double-horseshoe boot lid generates all the downforce the GT Speed Convertible needs, even at
over 325 km/h (200 mph) on a race track.
Interior: sumptuous, exclusive luxury and advanced technology
Inside, exclusive treadplates featuring the ‘Speed’ legend welcome you to a four-seat cabin that features the
hand-craftsmanship of the Mulliner Driving Specification, with its distinctive diamond-quilted hide upholstery. For the
Continental GT Speed models Bentley offers an exclusive Dark Tint Aluminium ‘engine spin’ finish, inspired by the
dashboards of the Le Mans winning Bentleys of the 1920s. Its understated shade is the perfect complement to the
exterior’s dark tint chrome radiator and bumper grilles. Other optional finishes include the full range of fine wood
veneers and a satin-finish Carbon Fibre option for fascia and centre console.
The infotainment system features Bentley’s latest software upgrades, which vary from region to region but include
refinements such as point of interest mapping, optional satellite landscape imagery, live traffic data and, where the
infrastructure supports it, digital radio. The system features 15 Gigabytes of available music space, as well as the
facility to play music via an iPod, MP3 player, the car’s own six-disc CD changer or SD card.
Flat panel Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) speakers, which combine the functions of separate tweeter and mid-range
speakers in one unit, direct the sound with accuracy and provide greater clarity across the audible spectrum.
Alternatively, the audiophile Naim for Bentley system, incorporating custom-built speakers and eight individual Digital
Sound Processing modes, is available as an option. As a thoughtful touch, the audio balance settings automatically alter
when the roof is lowered to compensate for the change in listening environment.
The thrill of the open road, 365 days a year
The new Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible provides the luxury and refinement of a coupé yet transforms into a
head-turning open tourer at the touch of a button. The four-layer hood ensures high levels of refinement and acoustic
insulation. Exhaustively tested in all conditions from -30°C to +50°C or more, it resists even monsoon-force rain and
maintains comfortable, draft-free warmth even on the coldest days.
Another practical feature, the neck warmer, makes open air driving an appealing and comfortable prospect even on the
cooler days of spring and autumn. With the hood down, the Continental GT Speed convertible offers sensational performance
with the sensory amplification of open-air motoring. Hood up, it’s as practical a year-round proposition as its coupé
As with every Bentley Continental model, the GT Speed convertible offers the reassuring stability of permanent
all-wheel drive, biased 60:40 in favour of the rear so the spirited driver can control the car’s line with the throttle.
The rear-biased torque split also minimises understeer during hard cornering while the system varies torque between the
front and rear axles for optimum grip in all road and weather conditions.
The result is an exhilarating combination of performance and practicality; a Bentley that can tackle sun-drenched
boulevarde or snowy alpine pass with equal aplomb.
||GT Speed Convertible
||6-litre twin-turbocharged W12|
||616 bhp / 460 kW / 625 PS @ 6,000 rpm|
||800 Nm / 590 lb.ft @ 2,000 rpm|
||ZF 8-speed automatic with Quickshift, Block Shifting and wheel-mounted paddleshift|
||Continuous all-wheel drive (40:60 rear bias)|
||1st : 4.71; 2nd: 3.14; 3rd: 2.1;
4th: 1.67; 5th: 1.29; 6th: 1.00;
7th: 0.839; 8th: 0.667|
||405mm ventilated discs (optional 420mm Carbon Silicon Carbide, cross drilled)|
||335mm ventilated discs (optional 356mm, Carbon Silicon Carbide, cross drilled)|
|Wheels and Tyres|
||9.5J x 21”|
||Rack & pinion, power assisted, speed-sensitive ZF servotronic|
||Four link double wishbones, computer controlled self-levelling air suspension, with
||Trapezoidal multi-link, computer-controlled self-levelling air suspension, with
||Continuous Damping Control, tuned for dynamic performance|
||2,746 mm / 108.1 in|
||4,806 mm / 189.2 in|
|Width (across body)
||1,944 mm / 76.5 in|
|Width (inc. mirrors)
||2,227 mm / 87.7 in|
||1,393 mm / 54.8 in
||1,394 mm / 54.9 in|
||90 litres / 20 gallons / 24 US gallons|
||260 / 9.18 cu ft
||358 litres / 12.6 cu ft|
|Kerb weight (EU)
||2,495 kg / 5,500 lb
||2,320 kg / 5,115 lb|
|Gross vehicle weight
||2,900 kg / 6,393 lb
||2,750 kg / 6,063 lb|
||202 mph / 325 km/h
||205 mph / 330 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption (EU cycle)**|
||12.5 mpg (22.7 litres/100km)
||12.7 mpg (22.2 litres/100km)|
||27.2 mpg (10.4 litres/100km)
||28.0 mpg (10.1 litres/100km)|
||19.0 mpg (14.9 litres/100km)
||19.5 mpg (14.5 litres/100km)|
|Fuel Consumption (EPA cycle)**|
|City (US mpg)
|Highway (US mpg)
|Combined (US mpg)
||EU 5 and US LEV II|
The history of "Speed"
Although the Speed nomenclature was revived in August 2007 with the first generation Continental GT Speed, the name
originates in the W.O. Bentley era, with the 3 Litre Speed of 1925 and the subsequent le Mans-winning Speed Six model.
Fittingly, the first-ever Bentley Speed was also an open tourer, giving pioneer motorists the chance to enjoy
wind-in-the-hair motoring with genuine 100 mph capability. In contrast, today’s 202 mph GT Speed Convertible is more than
twice as fast as its ancestor - and considerably more civilised for driver and passengers.
NOTE: ** Fuel consumption figures are provisional and subject to Type Approval and/or EPA certification.