First DriveDrop-top version of Bentley's fastest-ever Continental GT blends thunderous performance with sublime posing potential
First DriveOur favourite drop-top Continental GT variant gets even better thanks to a raft of engine, suspension and aero tweaks
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.