The Bentley Continental GT is officially an automotive icon. It's easily Bentley's best-selling model since it was introduced back in 2003, and the current generation is the most dramatically styled. Now the convertible version has been unveiled for the L.A. Auto Show. Take a good look since you're unlikely to see a more stunning convertible, except for perhaps the upcoming Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante.
The British marque doesn't ditch the ethos of the GT that made it so popular (it's referred to as the "Beverly Hills Taxi" because of its prevalence in that affluent town). It's still unmistakably a GT, but Bentley wisely borrows the majority of the convertible's styling from the new hardtop coupe, which also happens to look a lot like the stunning EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept. (below).
The crisp hood lines, the prominent rear haunches over the fenders, and brilliant cues like the "12" emblazoned brake vents just behind the front wheels and the black-trimmed headlights are all beautifully present on the convertible. The look is elegant and sporty at the same time, and they balance it all out very nicely.
One of the advantages of the redesign is the weight savings. Like the coupe, the convertible eliminates some heft to the tune of 20% from the last generation GT, and it even adds 5% more rigidity, enhancing handling. Though the GT Convertible might seem like it's all luxury, it's a shockingly good performer.
The convertible, like the coupe, gets three-chamber air springs, 48-volt-controlled active anti-roll bars and extremely powerful ten-piston brake calipers in front up front and four-piston calipers in the back. Most cars get four to six pistons in front. That, apparently, was not enough for Bentley.
You can even order the convertible roof made out of fine British tweed. That's right. It probably wasn't pulled
Take one look inside, and you'll see that Bentley has come a long way in terms of design without losing the feel they're famous for. Rich materials are everywhere, and just as important is the attention to detail everywhere. Real wood paneling, finely machined metals, and leather that would embarrass the finest of executive boardrooms. Each GT convertible uses over 107 square feet of genuine wood that is sourced by a dedicated employee who scours the world for the best wood for the brand. Wow.
Perhaps the coolest feature we've seen is the James Bond-like rotating center display. Drivers can move between the big 12.3-inch touchscreen, beautiful analog gauges, or a big swath of wood paneling that matches the rest of the dash. Take a look at the three photos right below to see this ingenious feature.
And just because owners want to be seen in their sexy British convertible even in cold weather, there's a new neckwarmer that's quieter and delivers even warmer air than the last generation's version. And there are also heated armrests because, you know, cold arms.
Right now, there's just one powertrain you need to be concerned about, and it's a big one. The monstrous but truly refined 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine is good for 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft torque, just like the coupe. If that sounds powerful, you'd be right because the result is
Expect a GT Convertible V8 S following soon after the W12 debuts, as well as more futuristic powertrain options that include a new gas-electric hybrid unit. The system will likely be an electrified 3.0-liter turbo V6 that's present in the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid SUV that can run on pure electricity for up to 31 miles.
No pricing has yet been announced, but you can expect it to be well north of the