Bentley Continental GTC
- April 24, 2006
- New Model Introductions
- Posted by George Peterson
- Comments Off on Bentley Continental GTC
Bentley Introduced Their Latest Convertible in New York
The United States is partial to convertibles. In many cases where a model is offered in coupe and convertible bodystyles, especially luxury cars like the Bentley Arnage and Jaguar XK, the split is 2 to 1 convertible to coupe, while the opposite is true in many international markets. Given this factoid, it was no surprise that the Continental GT-based convertible was unveiled in the United States at the 2006 New York auto show. Further, Bentley‘s two biggest markets are New York and Los Angeles, so using New York was likely an easy call, too. The GTC will be available later in 2006, with its power-folding twenty-five-seconds-to-down soft-top, turbocharged 552HP 6.0L W12 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, typically gorgeous Bentley design and completely pampering interior. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents were on hand for the reveal, of course. Who would want to miss seeing such a gorgeous automobile, even if just to dream and admire?
Continental GT Coupe Underwent Several Engineering Changes in Transformation to Droptop
Along with giving their convertible an appropriately luxurious yet sporting exterior design, when developing the Continental GTC, Bentley engineers worked hard to make sure the convertible would be as lovely on the road as the coupe is. While we can preview their explanations, we’re hopeful an opportunity arises in which we can see for ourselves!
According to Bentley, the convertible’s stiffness is in the 30Hz range, to keep the natural tendency of convertibles to shake and vibrate down to a minimum. Tricks used to keep stiffness up were steel reinforcement to sills, additional cross braces, and strengthened steel tubing in the A pillars and windshield surround. The weight penalty for these and other enhancements is about 243 pounds, enabling Bentley to keep the overall weight down to 5500 pounds. The GTC gets many of the same amenities as the Continental GT, including powertrain, adding a power-operated soft-top. Among the changes from coupe to convertible is a new rear suspension package, to allow enough space for the top to be stowed and maintain the lines the designers intended.
552HP and 195MPH Top Speed as Safely as Possible
The design and development also focused on ensuring aerodynamic balance up to its 195mph top speed, with much time spent in the wind tunnel. High-speed stability is also enhanced by the adaptive suspension automatically lowering at speeds above 152mph. The convertible’s underbody air diffuser and the design of the rear bumper and decklid assist in keeping the car planted at speed as well. Safety is also assisted with a strengthened windshield frame and an advanced rollover protection system beneath the rear headrests; reinforced steel hoops deploy if the car thinks it is about to rollover.
Interior materials are sumptuous wood veneers and leather, true to Bentley standards and the level expected for vehicles that cost as much as houses in some parts of the country. The GTC’s removable interior windscreen is made of chrome and aluminum, though it folds and stores in the trunk when not used. The function of the continuous strip of stainless steel around the waist of the car it purely to frame the work-of-art interior when the top is down. Bentley designers used a mix of polished and satin metals as interior accents, complementing the leather hides. Burr walnut is found in the dash, upper door trim, and front console, cut using laser technology and lacquered by hand before being machined and polished. The premium leather is offered in seventeen colors, with carpet and seatbelts set to match. As just one example of the attention to detail and the labor of love building one of these cars, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is double-stitched using two needles at the same time, and the process takes about eight hours.