Bentley’s sumptuous Continental GT was always going to spawn a droptop version, but the Continental GT Convertible still wows all the same. Revealed in advance of the LA Auto Show 2018 this week, the new open-top grand tourer bares the Continental GT’s class-leading cabin to the elements, courtesy of a special Z-fold fabric roof.
Indeed, the roof may be the Continental GT Convertible’s crowning glory. While it may not be folding metal it still promises to be ridiculously quiet: indeed, Bentley claims that, hood up, it’s actually quieter inside than the old Continental GT Coupe was.
Seven different roof colors are on offer, including black, blue, claret, and grey. For the first time there’s a contemporary British tweed option, too. Inside, there are eight roof liner finishes. Overall it’s 3db quieter than its predecessor, but still opens in a mere 19 seconds.
Otherwise this is the grand tourer we know and love. Now in its third generation, it’s longer and more purposeful than the outgoing GT Convertible. New manufacturing processes have allowed for crisper creases and bolder power-lines, that flow from the LED Matrix headlamps back to the car’s haunches.
21-inch Five Tri-Spoke wheels are standard, with 10-Spoke and 22-inch Five Open-Spoke wheels options. Each can be had in a selection of 10 polished and painted finishes. Seventeen body colors are in the standard range, with an extended range – and even color-matching, should you have a particular hue you absolutely demand – available.
Under that lengthy hood is the 6.0-liter W12 TSI engine, with twelve cylinders and 626 horsepower. 664 lb-ft of torque helps with a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, and this is one of the fastest drop-tops in the world with a 207 mph top speed.
With economy in mind, the W12 can shut down half of its engine when maximum power isn’t required. Active All-Wheel Drive can vary front to rear power delivery depending on driving demands, and there’s a 48-volt roll control system that can smooth out body roll. Three drive modes – Bentley, Sport, and Comfort – are available, all tweaking the settings of the standard air suspension system, among other things.
Inside the cabin remains one of the Continental GT Convertible’s finest features. Over 10 square meters of wood is used for the dashboard, with a dual-veneer option as well as unusual – but sustainably-sourced – veneers like Koh and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus. A technical finish, dubbed Côtes de Genève, of machined aluminum inspired by Swiss watches can be added to the lower console, while pillow knurling makes for softer-touch controls and switches.
20-way adjustable comfort seats have ventilation, heating, and massage. There’s also optional hand cross stitch finishing. The driver gets a fully-digital instrument panel, and there’s an optional Bentley Rotating Display which has the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen spin around to show either uninterrupted wood veneer or a trio of analog gages.
There are a few differences in the cabin for the drop-top. The neck warmer system, for instance, is still integrated into the heated comfort seats, but is now both quieter and warmer than before. A chrome center vane spans the whole width of its duct, too, providing what the designers say are echoes of the dashboard vents. The heated steering wheel and seat heaters are now joined by heated armrests, so that a chill dare not caress your elbows.
Bentley will have three audio systems. Standard is a 10-speaker, 650 watt system, while a Bang & Olufsen upgrade with 1,500 watts and 16-speakers is optional. Finally, there’s a 2,200 watt Naim system with 18-speakers, that uses Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats. Apple CarPlay and Google search are standard.
Two technology packs will be optional. City Specification will have hands-free trunk opening, pedestrian warnings, traffic-sign recognition, and automatic city braking. It’ll also add a 360-degree camera. The Touring Specification gets adaptive cruise control, active lane assistance, a head-up display, pre-sense braking, and a night vision infrared camera.
Finally, the Mulliner Driving Specification gets 22-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels, while inside there’s diamond-in-diamond quilting and embroidered Bentley emblems. It also offers extra veneer options and packs a jeweled-finish fuel filler, sports pedals, and intended leather headliner. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, the Mulliner bespoke division will customize the Continental GT Convertible pretty much any way your whims – and your wallet – allows.
As for how wide you should expect your wallet to open, pricing will kick off at $236,100 in the US. The Continental GT Convertible is expected to arrive in US dealerships in late Summer 2019, likely as a model year 2020 car. Lucky Europeans, meanwhile, will get to enjoy it earlier than that, however.