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Detroit Auto Show: Bentley Continental GTC Speed debuts

Tue, 06 Jan 2009

Bentley will complete its Speed portfolio when it introduces a freshened Continental GTC range at the Detroit auto show.

Along with exterior and equipment changes, a new GTC Speed model is added with a more powerful version of the 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 that churns out 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque for an improvement of 48 hp and 74 lb-ft over the regular GTC. The result is Bentley's most powerful convertible to date. It boasts a 0-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 195 mph with the top down and 200 mph with it closed.

Additional performance changes for Speed versions include a retuned continuous dampening system to reduce body pitch and roll, lower ride height, stiffer rear-axle bushings and new Dynamic setting for the stability program. A quicker responding steering system and low-friction dampeners for improved ride quality also find their way onto standard GTC versions.

Also shared by both models is a new front-end treatment featuring a more upright styling, squarer edges, larger lower air intakes and chrome headlight bezels. Design cues exclusive to the GTC Speed are dark tinted front grilles, 20-inch multi-spoke wheels wrapped with Pirelli PZero ultra-high performance tires, lower ride height, wider dual-exhaust tips and a rear lip spoiler.

The Speed's interior adopts features from the Mulliner package with diamond-quilted seats, a chrome-and-leather shifter, three-spoke steering wheel with brushed aluminum trim, drilled alloy pedals and polished Speed side sills.

Carbon-ceramic brakes and an adaptive cruise control system are options.

The updated Bentley Continental GTC and the new GTC Speed go on sale this summer. Base models sticker at $203,795 including destination and gas-guzzler taxes. Pricing for the GTC Speed has not been announced, but expect it to come in around $228,000.

By Jonathan Wong