Bentley's Continental convertible gets the same Speed treatment as the coupe and saloon. And, as with those, it's faster and better

What is it?

This is the high-performance Speed variant of Bentley's Continental GTC convertible, which follows the GT coupe and Flying Spur saloon in getting a hotter version.

The GTC's Speed upgrades follow the same pattern as the other two Continentals. The engine is a reworked version of the standard 552bhp unit, with new internals rather than just turbo tweaks. Bushes have been removed from the (lowered) suspension to improve responsiveness and steering response and accuracy; there are unique 20-inch wheels, too.

Other design changes include a discreet rear spoiler, while on the Speed and standard GTC there are styling changes at the front, including a more upright grille. There are lower-friction dampers and optional carbon ceramic brakes for both, too. There are new trim options inside and it's generally lovely, albeit with a clunky sat-nav system.

What's it like?

The Speed's changes haven't noticeably affected the GTC's refinement. There's a smidgen of shake to images in the rear-view mirror, a sure sign that it's less rigid than a fixed-head, but the GTC Speed rides smoothly, with a little of the rubbery bounce that's usual to air-sprung cars.

The Speed's steering is noticeably sharper and more communicative than the regular GTC's and, given that it's a 2.5-tonne car, it's respectably agile. It's fast, too – punchier than standard, and that's already plenty fast enough.

It's engaging in a way the regular GTC isn't, yet seemingly loses nothing either. Yes, its exhaust note is louder, but is so woofly and rich that it's no unwelcome addition.

Should I buy one?

There are plenty of reasons why you should. Bentley was surprised by the proportion of GT coupe buyers (70 per cent) who chose the Speed variant. It shouldn't be surprised this time.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Orangewheels 24 March 2009

Re: Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Surely they could have found some way of reducing the 2.5 tonne weight?

It's not like it's a big 4x4 and needs a seperate chassis?

iamnotthestig 24 March 2009

Re: Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Recently read a long article in a competitor publication (ahem) about Bentley and their plans to hold out through the recession. The overall message seemed to be to continue to build the same sorts of cars despite the tough economic times, and instead make cut backs simply as to factory opening times and the like.

Poor buggers. I bet when this model was originally planned they couldn't have told how dire things would be when it reached production.


Quattro369 24 March 2009

Re: Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Perfect timing! This time around Bentley may be 'suprised' by the percentage of people that dont want one at all.