Bentley Continental GTC Speed (2009) first pictures

Published: 06 January 2009

This is Bentley’s facelifted Continental GTC and the mid-life tweakery completes Crewe’s revisions to its Continental range. The changes also usher in the higher-power 600bhp Speed model, which Bentley predicts will account for two-thirds of GTC sales. It's also the car Bentley denied they'd build when we scooped the GTC Speed last year!

The new Continental GTC range will be on display at next week's Detroit 2009 motor show.

Is it a full-on facelift for the Bentley Continental GTC, or a mild botox injection?

The latter. Examine the new GTC Speed with a spirit level and you might just spot the more upright front grille with a prouder edge. Chrome bezels now surround the headlamps and there’s a bigger lower air intake to help feed the more powerful engine.

And the extra power that comes from these larger air intakes?

Power is up to 600bhp, thanks to a few tweaks to the 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12, making it Bentley’s most powerful convertible ever. It puts the 500bhp Azure T to shame, frankly.

There’s also 553lb ft – a 15% increase over the ‘standard’ GTC – which is delivered all the way from 1700-5600rpm. Together these bhp and lb ft figures combine to power the GTC Speed to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, a ton in 10.6sec, and on to a top speed of 200mph (or 195mph with the roof down for maximum high-drying effect).

Can the Conti's chassis cope?

Hopefully. The GTC Speed features 20-inch wheels and bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyres, lowered suspension (down 10mm front, 15mm rear), new anti-roll bars and dampers and re-tuned steering.

The world’s largest ceramic brakes (for a road-going production car) are on the options list. The front discs measure a whopping 420mm, a paltry 356mm at the rear, and only fit if you’ve ordered the 20-inch wheels.

And inside?

Speed models get a three-spoke Saab-alike steering wheel, drilled alloy pedals (‘standard’ GTC models get a ‘B’ brake pedal), lots of chrome trim and diamond-quilted leather seats.

'The Continental GTC is an elegant Grand Touring convertible in the Bentley tradition, exciting the emotions with its distinctive blend of performance, luxury, craftsmanship and modernity,' schmoozes Bentley chairman and CEO Dr Franz-Josef. 'The GTC Speed completes the family of Continental Speed models and broadens the appeal of the GTC to customers who demand a more focused, open-top driving experience.'

Prices for the Continental GTC start at £129,700, while the GTC Speed is yours for £146,100.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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