Few manufacturers command the kind of exclusivity that the Bentley name connotes. If you can afford a Bentley, you can afford any number of rolling testaments to man’s ingenuity – and his ceaseless pursuit of perfection (and a large bank account). Those that choose a car like the 2010 Bentley Continental GTC Speed over more blatant expressions of power and wealth have nothing to prove. You see, this car is the fastest Bentley convertible ever created, though to look at it you would be hard-pressed to tell. The GTC Speed launches to 60 mph in a blistering 4.5 seconds. That’s not just fast. For a car that hits the scales at a hair under 5,500 lbs (that’s nearly three tons, for those of you who are counting), that’s insane speed and power, all wrapped in a bespoke three-piece suit.
What's to Like
The Continental GTC Speed is as beautiful as its hardtop brethren. The interior drips with understated extravagances like a genuine burl wood dash and center console and a hand-stitched leather steering wheel. Then there’s the brute force of the twin-turbocharged twelve-cylinder engine under the incredibly long hood. It’s the kind of power that isn’t so much addictive as it is necessary once you become accustomed to it.
What's Not to Like
With the financial universe in ruin around you, it’s hard to justify this kind of extravagance. Bentley boasts its interiors may take as many as 11 hides to cover in supple leather. It, to certain people, may lack a sense of decorum driving a Bentley in this day and age, but to each his own.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
Describing what it’s like to drive the Bentley Continental GTC Speed is like explaining crème brulee to someone who’s lived their entire lives on tapioca pudding in a plastic cup. It’s sensory overload in the best way possible. The soft, cradling leather buckets lull you into the kind of comfort that grows to a sense of entitlement. You can’t help but feel you deserve every last hand stitch, every single hour poured into working out the exquisite wood veneer laid over every inch of the dash and center stack. Then there’s the power. The 600 horsepower W12 engine is stunning. Mashing the gas sends all 5,478 pounds into furious motion without the grotesque tire squealing of lesser beasts. Thanks to the GTC Speeds all-wheel drive system, the car simply goes. It’s like getting backhanded by your favorite well-dressed grandparent. The Speed is surprising in a way few cars today truly are.
Engine and Drivetrain
Bentley has graced the GTC Speed with a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine. The motor manages a full 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque and is coupled to six-speed automatic transmission which can be manual shifted via column-mounted paddle shifters. The GTC Speed is all-wheel drive and fast, fast, fast.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
If you’re brave enough, fear no law and have the space, this car will take you all the way to 200 mph with the top up. Did we mention this thing is fast? If straight-line glory isn’t your cup of tea, the car has more to offer. Though the GTC Speed may seem indistinguishable from its slightly more demure cousin, the GTC, there are a few subtle changes to the exterior and ride height to make it stand out. There’s a small spoiler at the rear of the Speed, bigger wheels, as well as a lower ride height. If you’ve got the cash to spend, you can pick up a trick set of carbon-ceramic brakes, too. Why not stop as fast as you can go?
Key Technology Evaluation
Befitting a car of this caliber, the GTC Speed comes standard with a DVD navigation system, keyless entry and ignition and Bluetooth hands-free calling. There’s also a nifty multi-function steering wheel to control the stereo navigation system without having to pull your hands from the tiller. The engine, though, is a technological marvel and the pure beating heart of the GTC Speed.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
No one buys a Bentley for its gas mileage. The 2010 Bentley Continental GTC Speed turns up a dismal 10 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. At least it managed to stay out of the single-digit territory, though something tells us that repeated enjoyment of all 600 horses on tap would get you there quicker than you’d like.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
The GTC Speed’s interior manages to live up to the family name. Everywhere you reach there are fine materials assembled by fine craftsmen. It’s expensive to make a car like this, but spend five minutes in the cabin and it’s easy to convince yourself it’s worth every penny.
Outside, the GTC Speed benefits from some of the best styling in the Bentley stable. Muscular and beautiful at the same time, this car’s body manages to convey its refined and brutally powerful innards.
Market Segment and Pricing
Priced at around $220,000 and going up, up and up from there, there aren’t many competitors to the GTC throne that are exact matches to a, you know, room-for-four, 200 mph non-supercar. That said, the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Ferrari F430, Aston Martin DB9 Volante all seem to match the Speed’s playboy attitude and price tag to a T.
What We Think
If it were meant to be for everyone, the GTC Speed wouldn’t be a Bentley. At this price, luxury and power aren’t optional, they are part and parcel of what makes the Speed so dang awesome, for lack of a better word. The GTC Speed delivers on every front. As it manages to live up to the expectations of what constitutes extreme luxury while delivering the kind of brute force you’d expect out of a supercar. If you’re looking for symbol of excess, this is it, but oh, what fun it is.