Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit www.motortrend.com for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |   |  2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive

Converts make the greater zealots

Kerry Morse
Feb 27, 2007
0704_ec_01_z+2007_bentley_continental_GTC+front_view Photo 1/10   |   2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive

It's funny in a way, the whole "what is a Bentley, what is a Rolls-Royce?" tradition we've grown up with. I always thought of Rolls as the car one didn't drive but was driven in. The back seats always held more allure than the fronts. A Bentley was a car that the owner actually drove. There is a wonderful photo from the '60s of Mick Jagger piloting an old Bentley down some typical English road on his way to yet another gig. The point being that a Bentley will always be a driver's car. The latest offering from Crewe-the Continental GT Convertible-is the latest reinforcement of that assertion.

For the launch, Bentley set up shop at an exclusive private resort in Napa Valley, and it proved to be the perfect choice. The sight of so many Bentleys cruising about one of the country's more desireable areas could have helped fill the order books from the locals alone.

0704_ec_02_z+2007_bentley_continental_GTC+rear_view Photo 2/10   |   2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive

Eager to emphasize that this car is much more than a GT with a chopped roof, Bentley rolled out the big guns from engineering, led by project engineer Dr. Ulrich Eichorn. All the changes made were to ensure that the convertible would be the coupe's equal in the many areas that traditionally suffer when a tin-top makes way for a softy. Dr. Eichorn even provided a look at what was considered and discarded during the process.

Visually, the GTC differs little from its hard-top sibling. The additional steel reinforcing to sills and cross braces gives the car a torsional rigidity which is reportedly unmatched by any other production convertible. The A-pillars and windshield frame have also been significantly strengthened.

0704_ec_07_z+2007_bentley_continental_GTC+engine Photo 3/10   |   2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive

Such extra mass usually results in the excessive vibrations we've come to accept with soft-tops, but Bentley has found ways to reduce these annoyances to the same levels found in the coupe. The rear subframe mountings have been played with to the point where the company views the redesign of the rear suspension to be the GTC's masterstroke.

The roof could also compete for that accolade, consisting of three layers and seven bows. However, it's the sound deadening and resulting silence at speed that is most impressive. The weight difference between the GT and GTC is minimal, the convertible just a couple of hundred pounds heavier. This weight target was achieved by employing items such as aluminum front fenders (which will also eventually find their way onto the coupe). Still, at 5500 pounds the GTC is no lightweight. One wouldn't expect a car of this bulk to handle, but the GTC is a mover.

0704_ec_08_z+2007_bentley_continental_GTC+front_view Photo 4/10   |   2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive

The six-liter W12 has twin turbochargers that assist it in pumping 552 peak bhp to push the GTC way up into triple-digit speeds, should you desire. Bentley claims its top speed to be 195 mph with the top up and 190 top-down. The flush, smooth body with the roof completely hidden away is a huge aerodynamic advantage. There is one thing that's evident and astonishing: you can have a normal conversation, without having to shout, at about 135 mph-with the top down. Not that we'd be so negligent as to try such an experiment, of course.

Overall, the GTC is difficult to categorize. As a convertible, it could be mistaken for just another drop-top on the boulevard. There are many offerings out there that make great beachfront cruisers for those warm summer nights. What sets the GTC apart is its performance and handling. It has no business being this good. It's closer to a Lotus than the marshmallow feeling in a modern Benz, more Porsche than Maybach. Bentley has raised the bar so high in the soft-top game that it will take years before any other manufacturer gets to the level now occupied by the GTC.

0704_ec_03_z+2007_bentley_continental_GTC+roof_up Photo 5/10   |   2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive

Over the past few months, there have been several letters and e-mails regarding the vehicles covered in ec. Comments include "losing our way" and "where are the features of cars for the everyman?" Having been a fan of car magazines since I was young, I am surprised why anyone wouldn't want to be exposed to the great rides that fall into the category of dream-mobiles. Cars like this amazing Bentley GTC. Most of us at ec own the usual things that probably reflect our readers' choices. The stuff we get the opportunity to test graces our driveways for about a week and then, like Cinderella, we're back to a rolling pumpkin.

So what if most of us can't afford a car like this? Any gearhead would want to know about the major players, the innovative products, the levels of technology involved. And we all need to dream. Victor Hugo said: "There is nothing like a dream to create the future." Who's going argue with that?

0704_ec_09_z+2007_bentley_continental_GTC+emblem Photo 9/10   |   2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive


2007 Bentley Continental GTC

  • Lightweight elements such as all-aluminum fenders have been introduced to offset structural reinforcements and keep the curb weight minimal
  • New rear suspension of trapezoidal multi-links, alloy mounts, air springs and adjustable shocks-and of course, all-wheel drive
  • The seven-bow roof, three layers thick-25 seconds from here to there, and unbelievable acoustic damping
  • Doubtful you will ever see a living room this well furnished-but if you can afford one of these, you probably do
  • Massive brakes, the biggest ever put on a production car, could probably stop the space shuttle
  • Twin-turbo W12, with 552 bhp, pushes the GTC to a reported 195 mph with the roof up and a buck ninety with it down

  • 0704_ec_10_z+2007_bentley_continental_GTC+tail Photo 10/10   |   2007 Bentley Continental GTC - First Drive

    Layout
    Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

    Engine
    6.0-liter W12, dohc, four valves per cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled

    Transmission
    Six-speed automatic

    Suspension
    Progressive air springs, Continuous Damping Control

    Dimensions
    Length x Width x Heigh
    (incl. mirrors, in.)
    189.1 x 82.7 x 55.0
    Wheelbase: 108.1 in.
    Curb Weight: 5500 lb

    Performance
    Peak Power: 552 bhp @ 6100 rpm
    Peak Torque: 479 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
    0-60 mph: 4.8 sec
    Top Speed: 195 mph (roof up)

    Why we love it: A reliable super-car, quiet, nothing else quite like it

    Why we don't: Not enough presscars in the fleet to allow us a long-term loaner

    The Price Tag: $189,990

    By Kerry Morse
    48 Articles

    BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

    MORE CARS

    Carbon Signal Automotive (CS) might not be a familiar name to most, but it's quickly mastered what neither the best in California or Japan can do yet, which is what's helped put its name onto the map.
    Jonathan WongFeb 20, 2019
    Mode Parfume has been teasing a new hardtop design for the S2000 that had been in development for quite some time and at the 2019 Osaka Auto Messe, show goers got the chance to see it in person.
    RodrezFeb 19, 2019
    The G-Class has changed a lot since the 460-series debuted in 1979. Today, the G-wagon is now as much an S-Class as it is an off-roader
    Bradley IgerFeb 15, 2019
    You know very well the mere mention of JDM Legends will mean something crazy good is about to cross your path.
    Jonathan WongFeb 13, 2019
    The perfect balance of performance and practicality.
    Bradley IgerFeb 8, 2019
    Sponsored Links

    SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

    Search
    CLOSE X
    BUYER'S GUIDE
    SEE THE ALL NEW
    NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
    TO TOP