E Finally a few rays of sun break through the cloudy sky over the Andalusian mountains near Marbella. They let the flame-orange paint skin of the Bentley Continental GTC flare up. The bright metallic paint now perfectly sets the scene for the elegant curves of the fabric-covered aluminum body - understatement is definitely different.
We slow down some speed, a maximum of 50 km /h for exactly 19 seconds. The mechanics need exactly that long until the black fabric roof disappears behind the two rear seats, whirring softly. The six-liter W12 meanwhile switches off half of its cylinders, but continues to grumble discreetly at around 1,500 rpm.
The steering wheel, armrest, seat and neck blower heat with full power because the analog outdoor thermometer shows only six degrees Celsius in spring. The massage seats take excellent care of the driver's tense lower back. It is wrapped in neatly tanned leather that is held together by 2.8 kilometers of the finest thread that winds through 310,675 holes. Who did the count? Bentley speaks with a wink of a colleague who has gone into the loony bin after this assignment. But which other manufacturer - apart from Rolls-Royce - would come up with such numbers?
Surprisingly modern inside but habit t noble
The Bentley designers have mastered the convertible insidemodernized. Digital instruments not only stylishly animate all relevant driving information, but also provide support with modern assistants from adaptive cruise control including lane holder (up to 250 km /h!) To night vision devices. It is operated with various chrome-plated switches, highly polished buttons and setting wheels that not only look as if they were cut from a piece of precious metal, but of course also feel that way. Even operating everyday functions becomes a luxury adventure.
This continues when the 12.3-inch infotainment screen in the middle rotates backwards in Toblerone style at the push of a button. Then it shows either the thermometer mentioned above along with an analog compass and a stopwatch, or high-gloss polished precious wood - optionally leather, Alcantara or whatever the Bentley customer orders. Only the wallet sets the limits for customization. But that has always been the case.
The roof has now disappeared in a Z-shape under the trunk cover. The side windows go up again. The view falls through the double-glazed flat windshield over the long hood onto a winding road while the airstream gently sweeps through the interior. The paths here seem like they were painted for a light, compact sports car, but they are definitely not terrain for a 4.85 meter long GT that weighs more than 2.4 tons. One would think.
Porsche base makes the Bentley dynamic
In the old Bentley Continental GTC, which was still based on the Phaeton base, we would actually have turned around at this point and had one Looking for the Autostrada as soon as possible, where we would have maxed out the maximum possible 333 km /h top speed. But the new one carries Panamera genes and thus technology that skilfully conceals its size and weight.
With a turn of the noble driving mode dial, we leave the comfort mode. Up to this point, the three-chamber air suspension has carried us so confidently over the Andalusian mountain roads, despite the low-profile 22-inch model, as if it were freshly paved federal motorways to harden. With a force of 1,300 Nm, the 48-volt roll compensation braces itself against the emerging centrifugal physics within 0.3 seconds. The additional stiffening measures that compensate for the missing roof do the rest. Together with the roof construction, this means around 170 kilograms more weight than the already massive coupé.
The steering is much more jagged, but still only transmits the bare essentials to the driver. Nevertheless, the Conti can be directed from vertex to vertex with such ease that you quickly forget what kind of sled you are in.
Thegentle force of the twelve cylinders
As in the closed Continental GT, the Cabrio Super Plus is also injected into the intake manifold and directly into the twelve combustion chambers. They are not arranged in a V shape, but in a W shape and are force-ventilated by two twin-scroll turbochargers. The acoustics of the six-liter machine are mostly restrained, only producing rougher tones under load. Then the bassy thunder echoes back from the rock faces and combines with the whistling concert of the two loaders to a piece of the finest engine classic.
The 635 PS of the W12-TSI never assault you violently, especially since the all-wheel drive Power is usually evenly distributed to all wheels. Only in sport mode does it press up to 83 percent on the rear wheels. Then the Bentley Continental GTC whirls through the meandering curves with much more agility and thanks to active torque vectoring even grips into tight bends and then wrestles the following short straight in fractions of a second.
The eight-speed double coupler draws on the unbelievable Power reserves of the twelve-cylinder. The punsht already at 1,350 /min with 900 Newton meters of torque. Gear changes are barely noticeable even in 'Comfort'. Even in the sharper driving modes, the dual-clutch transmission never spreads neck blows and only very rarely lets you want to intervene yourself via the paddle shifters.
The missing roof costs as much as a small car
According to Bentley, the Continental GTC only needs 3.7 seconds to accelerate to a hundred from a standstill. Quite believable. Not only because the convertible crashes out of the starting block after we brake it hard at 4,500 rpm, but because we have already measured the coupé on the test track in Lahr in 3.6 seconds. Conversely, the big brakes stop the heavy Bentley reliably even in hilly ups and downs.
All that's missing is the price: the Bentley Continental GTC costs at least 192,000 euros, excluding taxes. This makes the convertible around 20,000 euros more expensive than thatCoupe. The test car in 'Orange Flame' also has extras worth around 50,000 euros on board.