Porsche-developed underpinnings and new engines will make the next GT C a sharper offering
Sam Sheehan
23 February 2018

Bentley will launch its sportiest convertible model next year when the Continental GT C arrives with the same Porsche-developed underpinnings as its hard-top alternative.

Caught testing in the sub-zero conditions of Scandinavia, the soft-top model will use the same MSD (modular standard drivetrain) underpinnings as its sibling but swap a metal roof for folding fabric.

The new structure, which has proved to be more agile and responsive than the old car’s Volkswagen Phaeton base in our first drive, is shared with the Panamera but has been developed to accommodate the Bentley models from the start.

Its local stiffness is considerably higher than the old car’s base and that should bode well for the GT C, which will lose some rigidity without a roof but likely retain much of the coupé’s composure thanks to the new Continental’s clever suspension technology.

Like the GT, the GT C will use air springs and active anti-roll bars that are powered by the car’s 48V architecture to drastically reduce body roll. The system can effectively counter lean in corners while also enhancing stability.

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Power for the drop-top will come from a choice of two engines. The GT is currently only on sale in W12 guise, using a newly developed 626bhp turbocharged 6.0-litre engine that’s taken from the Bentayga but fine-tuned for two-door coupé use. This unit is likely to be offered at launch with the GT C too.

But a second powertrain, a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, will be added to the GT range in the coming months, meaning it’ll be available before the GT C is revealed. That suggests the luxury convertible could arrive with both units from the off.

Bentley’s drivetrain features a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox and power is sent to all four wheels, although there’s a rear bias in the new Continental. This trait has made the coupé more playful than its predecessors so expect the convertible to become Bentely’s sportiest yet.

This, of course, only applies if we discount the original Blower Bentleys of the 1920s from the comparison. Those most focused machines were created to race at Le Mans, but they had no tops at all – not even folding ones – so were proper open-top machines, rather than convertibles.

As for the arrival of Bentley’s next drop-top, a company spokesman told Autocar that “the focus for 2018 was on launching the Continental GT”, suggesting the GT C will arrive at the start of next year.

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23 February 2018

A thing of beauty....?

Peter Cavellini.

23 February 2018

What, even more sporty than the Bentugly convertible?

Even more sporty than the Mulsanne convertible?

And even more sporty than the Flying Spur convertible?

Surely not....

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