The GTC Speed is a GTC mechanically tweaked just enough to enable Bentley to make weapons-grade claims about its performance. Despite the power and speed records broken by its predecessor, it still moves the game on by a fractional amount: 0.4sec off the 0-62mph time, a scant 2mph added to the top speed and all courtesy of a rise in engine power of a little more than two per cent.
There’s more to this GTC than that. There are things you need to know about the way Bentley conducts its business before you can understand a car like this. When it says it’ll do 202mph it touchingly elects not to mention it’ll also do 203, 204 and many mph more.
Less excitingly, but perhaps more relevantly, Bentley has thoroughly gone over the rest of the car to make sure it is up to coping with the power and performance available. So when you look at the small print you discover completely revised and reprogrammed spring rates, fatter anti-roll bars, a 10mm drop in ride height and new software for the Servotronic steering.
So long as the corner is quick enough the GTC angles in accurately and eagerly, gripping hard and even offering some feel through its steering wheel. Ultimately there is understeer but it is mild and, compared to the alternative, very welcome.
Like its hard-topped GT Speed coupé brother, it now also enjoys the benefits of a new eight-speed gearbox, a worthwhile addition for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which being it extends the car’s miserable range by some 15 per cent.
The Aston DB9 Volante, Ferrari California, Mercedes SL and 911 Turbo Cab are all notably more nimble and rewarding to drive, and as the heaviest is well over half a tonne lighter than the GTC, it would be strange were it any other way. The Speed is clearly a sporting car as, for all its power and speed, it is assuredly not a sports car.
Bear that in mind and the car's true abilities start to reveal themselves. First is the ride quality, which would be a triumph in a coupé let alone a wobbly convertible. But the GTC Speed doesn’t wobble, allowing its gait to be as soft as its structure is stiff. The wind management is so good voices need never be raised. The heating is effective, too, so you don’t even need a coat when the conditions are cooler.