Taking cues from its GT coupe sibling launched last year, the new Continental GTC builds on the highly successful foundation of the previous cabriolet, which premiered in 2006. Bentley's design and engineering teams have improved virtually every aspect of the iconic convertible with an uncompromising focus on quality.
While the first Continental GTC was elegant and understated, the sharper radii and assertive stance of the new model delivers a more contemporary and muscular presence. Advanced manufacturing techniques produce aluminium front wings without the need for seams or welds creating the look and feel of a coachbuilt car. Twenty-inch wheels are now standard with three styles of 21-inch wheel, a first for GTC, available as an option, reinforcing the distinctive, sporting stance of the new Bentley.
The four-seater luxury convertible features a new, even more spacious and sumptuous hand-crafted cabin, with soft-touch leather hides, an extensive range of wood veneers, cool-touch metals and deep-pile carpets. There are 17 standard soft-touch leather hide colours with six colour split combinations, complemented by a range of seven veneers, all produced by Bentley's talented craftsmen and women.
The challenge for the creative team, under the leadership of Director of Design Dirk van Braeckel, was to take an icon of automotive art and improve it.
"The GTC is a confident new Bentley convertible that's more sculpted, more dynamic and more potent than ever before," commented Dirk van Braeckel. "The wider track, deeper body side and larger wheels give it a low, lithe and sporty stance that commands attention, roof up or roof down."
Inevitably inspiration has come from the second-generation Continental GT Coupe, unveiled to universal acclaim almost a year ago. Many of the GT's signature styling cues have been woven into the new Continental GTC, and the result is a progressive, sculpted and dynamic exterior that re-interprets the family heritage - dating back to the original 1950s R-Type Continental - in a stunning new four-seat convertible body.
While the first Continental GTC was elegant and understated, the inspired new design has made its replacement more modern and contemporary. It's an evolution of the classic original, showcasing a cleaner and crisper look, sharper and more focused design radii, and a more muscular, sporty and confident road presence.
The sensuous lines are familiar but the overall package is significantly revised. The new model has a wider track, is slightly longer and has a higher waistline. The latter tapers gradually upwards towards the rear of the car and creates a more shallow window graphic and dynamic stance.
The classic Bentley matrix radiator grille is framed by a striking new headlight design, in traditional four-lamp format, with exquisite jewel-like detailing including eye-catching, LED daytime-running lamps.
The car's muscular front wings are created through an advanced manufacturing process called aluminium Superforming. Heating the aluminium to nearly 500 degrees Celsius, before cleverly shaping it with air pressure, produces uniquely sculpted body panels. And by using a single sheet of aluminium no seams or welds are required. The result is an improved coachbuilt design aesthetic with a reduced number of shut lines.
Further down the flanks, the purposeful haunches echo those of the flagship Bentley Mulsanne. The comparison continues into the rear of the car where the powerful 'double horse-shoe' motif is integrated into the inset wrap-around rear lamps. Below, the flared elliptical exhaust tailpipes reinforce the new car's high performance credentials.
The new composite bootlid is 'transparent' to media and GPS signals, allowing the GTC's antennae to be concealed within its structure. It produces a clean and unbroken exterior surface that is not possible on many other convertibles.
The new Bentley Continental GTC is unmistakable. It is a contemporary and sculpted supercar with the prestige feel and authentic quality of a true coachbuilt convertible. The stunning exterior design unquestionably enhances the overall aesthetic but, thanks to exhaustive wind tunnel analysis, also improves aerodynamic performance.