However hard I try, and however much the Continental GT is denigrated as a ‘Footballers Car’, I can’t help loving it, and its soft-top sibling the GTC.
When I first drove the GT I have to admit I was a little disappointed. Only a little, mind you, as it is unarguably a great car. But I’d expected even more than it delivered. It was mighty powerful, but it never felt really quick. It was quiet and comfortable, and had all the right bells and whistles, and gave more than a passing nod to tradition. But there was something a little underwhelming with its on-road manners. It didn’t feel taut enough. It tended to run a bit wide on hard corners (which was no great surprise, given the weight at the nose). Extremely good car, but not an exceptional car.
But then came the GT Speed. It was everything on my wish-list for the original GT. It threw in the Mulliner Pack as standard, but more importantly it felt alive to drive. You had to give it a good hiding to realise how good it was, but if you did it answered you fluently. The acceleration (and braking, with its massive carbon brakes) was awesome. Somehow Bentley had lost the nose-heavy feel on fast bends, and the whole car came alive.It was the Bentley to have.
Bentley then tried the same ‘Speed’ trick on the saloon version, the Flying Spur, and for me it didn’t work half as well. The Flying Spur should not be a GT car. It should be what it was designed to be – an elegant gentleman’s carriage with a lightening turn of speed. And now it’s the turn of the GTC to get the ‘Speed’ treatment.
The GTC Speed gets a lowered ride height, more aggressive front end, stiffer suspension and bigger boots. The steering gets to be more responsive, and there’s the same power hike as in the GT Speed. You even get some new colours – Blue Crystal and Aquamarine.
I really love the GTC. With the top down you get what you never really get in the GT – a wonderful W12 soundtrack. But it was even softer than the GT. It suits the GTC mind you, so a ride in a GTC was about the waft, not the thrash. But will the ‘Speed’ treatment suit the GTC? It is really hard to tell. If it turns it in to an open-top GT Speed then it will be a peach. But I don’t know if it will, or if it will just highlight the usual convertible deficiencies. I’ll have to wait for Bentley to send one over. But it does look very promising.