New Bentley GT Speed Convertible revealed

How's 2013 looking for you? Any less gloomy than 2012? Given headlines dominated by fiscal cliffs and the rest it doesn't really sound like it but Bentley is trying to lift our mood a little with the second-gen Speed version of the GT Convertible. At 202mph it's the fastest four-seater drop-top available and a token 2mph faster than the old one which, where conditions allow and all that, puts the bluster into Bentley 'blower' for you and three friends.

Probably not photographed in Detroit...
Probably not photographed in Detroit...
With an adequate 625hp and 590lb ft of torque, the GT Speed Convertible's 6.0-litre W12 drives all four wheels through ZF's all-conquering eight-speed auto. A 10mm ride height drop and unique-to-the-model 21-inch wheels mark the Speed out from (relatively) lesser GTCs with their pitiful 575hp engines. A dark grille and rifled exhausts underline the point.

Bentley is showing some chutzpah in unveiling the new Speed Convertible in the economically ravaged environs of Detroit (it debuts at next week's motor show there) rather than one of its more buoyant markets. Indeed, of all the places you really wouldn't want to drive around in a drop-top Bentley Detroit in January would have to rate pretty highly, no matter that the hood is insulated to -30 degrees.

Blustery way to prove 200mph cred
Blustery way to prove 200mph cred
Should you have somewhere sunnier and less edgy to enjoy your new Speed Convertible, what's to expect? Kind of what you'd have anticipated of a soft-top version of the Speed coupe really. It's 175kg heavier than that car, to the cost of 3mph from the top speed (202mph) and a tenth to the 0-62mph time, which is now 4.1 seconds. The extra weight is more telling on the 0-100mph run, with the cabrio taking 9.7 seconds over the coupe's 9.0 dead. It's a tad slower than the 640hp old-shape Supersports-based Ice Speed Record cabrio we drove last year, admittedly. Like it really matters - it's plenty rapid enough to wear the Speed badge and isn't likely to leave you feeling short changed performance-wise.

The Speed Convertible is, to put it tactfully, at the 'new money' end of the Bentley customer spectrum these days but, of course, Bentley's famous Le Mans racers back in the day were big, fast, open top tourers. So how about clawing back some cred by entering a British Racing Green one into Le Mans and having it driven by a bunch of champagne-fuelled, moustachioed posh boys in white boiler suits? No? C'mon, that'd be a PH kind of new year's resolution!

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (61) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sealtt 11 Jan 2013

    I think it's a fantastic car and I am actually off to test drive a 2007 GTC this weekend... however, it will have to be really good to make me switch from my SL AMG. Seriously, the image of these is terrible... if you see someone driving one it does lead to thoughts of 'pretentious c**k'. But if the car is good enough I will go for it!

    Side note, complaints about the small mindedness & jealousy culture in Britain I agree with. It is terrible and I could not stand it. However, living in London it's a different world, and this almost does not exist at all... I think it only applies somewhat to the English, middle-class areas outside of the capital.

  • Justices 08 Jan 2013

    Hellbound said:
    I hate the chrome, especially around the rear lights.
    It's the chrome around the rear lights I seriously dislike. It reminds me of European cars in the U.S that get factory issue shiny chrome wheels and similar chrome finishing treatment. Applied with restraint and in the right places it can work well. But on the rear lights like this, no.

  • oilit 08 Jan 2013

    Lordbenny said:
    Your Mrs will want to come back here as soon as she realises in Oz they treat women like 2nd class citizens. Culturally the place is like the UK 50 years ago, they are racist, bigoted, sexist as well as being crap at cricket! wink

    I can jump in my car leave my house and in 12 hours can have driven through over 7 countries experiencing everything they have to offer, try doing that in Oz. Oh, and by the way dont drive over 30mph anywhere or they'll lock you up! If you need to run away don't blame it on the country! This country is without any shadow of a doubt the best country in the world, yes, it has a few problems but I can assure you England is in ok shape. You wernt in a coma last year were you? smile

    best comment of the thread so far - well done!

  • Tarico 06 Jan 2013

    SpeckledJim said:
    TUV technicality aside, that's just bks, isn't it.
    Yeah ok, this is doomed to go nowhere. Everyone, go back to discussing polo shirts.

  • SpeckledJim 06 Jan 2013

    Tarico said:
    SpeckledJim said:
    They're tuners, not manufacturers.
    The Brabus E V12 Roadster in the picture was released last year, and has full TÜV certification. Egro it is a manufactured model in its own right, the same as the Continental GT (which is arguably a "tuned" A8).

    I don't want to belittle the very good work which Bentley is doing, I just get riled when manufacturers make false claims as one of their main selling points.
    TUV technicality aside, that's just bks, isn't it.

    Very, very clearly, Brabus are in the business of tuning Mercedes-Benz cars.

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