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2012 Bentley Continental GT Convertible

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On: Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 4:14PM | By: Peter C Sessler

2012 Bentley Continental GT Convertible

For those who don’t know, the venerable Bentley brand and manufacturing was sold to Volkswagen 1998. This wasn’t a bad move, as it allowed Bentley to modernize its aging factory and, hopefully, make money. Then, 2003 saw the introduction of the Continental GT Coupe, while the striking Continental GT Convertible came along in 2006.

The new Continental GT Convertible is being referred to as a “new generation Bentley.” Is this accurate or is it just the result of a “facelift?” The 2012 does look like past Continental models, yet even a brand new Bentley design has to somehow connect to previous ones. This new 2012 model certainly does.

The Continental GT has all-new sheet metal, new headlights, a new front grille that is lower yet more upright, and restyled lower intakes—yet remains true to the original 2003 design. It wouldn’t be a Bentley if it didn’t. Underneath the body, there are a number of enhancements on the original platform.

The 6.0 liter twin-turbo W-12 now delivers 567 hp, and a turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, shared with the Audi S8, makes about 475hp; the Speed and Supersport versions should make over 600hp. The 6-speed ZF transmission allows for double downshifts (from 6th to 4th gear, for example), and the Torsen 4WD system has torque split from 50:50 to 40:60, for reduced understeer. It also now has 20” wheels.

Aluminum front fenders and an aluminum trunk lid cut about 143 lbs. from the overall weight, yet still comes in at a hefty 5,110 lbs. Top speed is a phenomenal 198 mph with 0-60, reduced by 0.2 seconds, to 4.4 seconds. For those who want a “greener” engine, a new 4.0-liter twin-turbo DI V8, promises a 40% reduction in emissions, and will be available later on.

The biggest improvement is rather mundane, actually; rear seat leg room is increased by 46 mm by streamlining the front seat back rests. Another improvement is reduced interior noise. The rest interior of the 2012 is basically a carryover—so after seven years this basic design continues to be fresh and stylish. The Bentley Continental GT Convertible is a powerful and luxurious GT with staying power.

Cost? Well, if you must ask, the W-12 will start at $220,000 and go up toward $300,000 for the more powerful versions. The V-8 model should sell for around $200,000.

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