Review: Bentley Continental GTC Speed – The World’s Best Convertible GT Car

Iconic convertible that combines exquisite craftsmanship with exhilarating driving dynamics.

It is difficult not to gush over this car. The Bentley Continental GTC Speed is the world’s best convertible GT car.

It’s headline details are astonishing:

  • It is known as the Bentley Continental GTC Speed, which harks back to the original Bentley 6½ Litre high-performance Bentley Speed Six from nearly a century ago.
  • It has a 6.0 Litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine that produces 650hp (485kW) and 900Nm of torque.
  • It will do 0-100km/h in 3.5sec and go on to a top speed of 335km/h.
  • It has all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering.
  • It is finished in three coats of Snow Quartz Pearlescent paint with a Beluga (black) and white hide interior with a piano black and aluminium finish.
  • It has a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 16 speakers and a 1,500-watt amplifier that makes every piece of music sound perfect.

This car is truly breathtaking.

Skip ahead to what it’s really like to drive…


The Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Large convertible GT cars are becoming very rare. Mercedes-Benz no longer makes the S63/S65 convertible; all BMW has to offer are the 840i and the M850i xDrive. Presently, Rolls-Royce is without a convertible in its model line-up until the Spectre convertible arrives in 2025 – but it’s an EV.

Regardless, all of that is irrelevant – for me, the Bentley Continental GTC Speed is the world’s best convertible GT car. I can’t think of anything with a removable roof that I’d prefer to take on a long drive.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed encompasses a classic design that has been masterfully crafted due to its motorsport roots, lavish components, and cutting-edge technology. The GTC Speed is a stunning car with a massive engine, remarkable curves, and a stunning interior. It possesses a timeless style that conveys top-tier performance. This is an ideal, albeit expensive, selection for those who want a luxurious, convertible GT car that can cover many miles.

Overview

The 2023 Bentley Continental GTC Speed is a beautiful convertible that is absolutely revolutionary. It’s got a whole new look, with a shorter and wider front grille, advanced LED headlights, a larger rear end, and an even more defined rear diffuser. Plus, the air intakes are larger, the rear bumper is more distinctive, and there’s a subtle spoiler! All of these exterior features make the Continental GTC Speed incredibly aerodynamic, enabling it to reach top speeds of more than 300km/h and accelerate from 0-100km/h in a mere 3.5 seconds. Without a doubt, the Bentley Continental GTC Speed is the leading convertible GT car of the world!

Exterior Design

The exterior of the Bentley GTC Speed is a departure from its chubby predecessor. The 2022 Continental GTC Speed has a lower front grille, lights, and a longer, wider rear end. The creases around the hips and the lowered boot-line exude a more aggressive tone. Nonetheless, these changes also make the GTC Speed more aerodynamic than its predecessor. Additionally, the GTC Speed has a more prominent rear diffuser and a redesigned rear bumper. It also has larger air intakes and a tiny carbon fibre rear spoiler. Overall, the exterior of the GTC Speed is sleek and more aggressive. A very modern Bentley.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed side-view.
Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Interior Appointments

The GTC Speed’s seating layout consists of two individual seats for the driver and passenger and a two-person rear bench. As you would expect, there is quite an options list that can be ticked when purchasing a Bentley Continental GTC Speed.

Mulliner Driving Specification

  • The Mulliner pack adds the ‘Diamond-in-diamond’ quilting on seats, door casings and rear quarter panels as well as the Sports pedals, Jewel fuel filler and oil cap and embroidered Bentley emblems on the seats.

Blackline Specification

  • This pack adds ‘mascara’ to numerous parts of the Bentley. The door handles, the radiator matrix grille, the wing vents and the lower side skirts. Blackline is also applied to the lower parts of the rear bumper and number plate frame, around the headlamps and tail lamps and to the massive tailpipes.

Styling Specification

  • Finally, the Styling spec adds carbon fibre touches to the front splitter, rear diffuser, boot lip spoiler and side sills.

Speaking of specifications, here’s a great video of Tim Burton (aka Shmee150) going through the entire ordering process for a Bentley Continental GTC Speed.

The GTC Speed’s interior has two-zone climate control and a myriad of well laid out buttons for every function. A 360° view camera, many parking sensors, Apple Car play, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are also specified on this car. The front seats and steering wheel are heated. The door sills sport a backlit BENTLEY logo and a stainless steel Speed plaque and the famous winged B is projected onto the ground when the door is opened.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed interior.

The List Goes On…

By the same token, the Continental GTC Speed’s luxury amenities set it apart. The showcase is the tri-sided rotating display in the centre console. When locked, a section of piano black Walnut veneer is on display setting off the curvature of the dashboard. Then when driving, the 12.3-inch touchscreen display is the nerve centre for every essential function. Alternatively, you can marvel at the three classic analogue dials presenting a compass, the outside temperature, and a lap-timer.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed lap-timer dial.

For example, another unmistakable Bentley touch are the polished organ stops controlling the Continental GTC Speed air vents. Each is mated to an actuator that provides pressure, giving the sense that mechanical wizardry is happening.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed organ stops
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed organ stops

Audiophiles will be delighted with the features offered in the Continental GTC Speed. It is fitted with the impressive 1,500W 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen for Bentley sound system, which includes digital radio, multiple SD-Card slots, CD/DVD slots, and a 60GB solid-state HDD, not to mention the mood lighting in the speaker grilles. Meanwhile, opting for the 2,200W 18-speaker system from Naim will provide an even more outstanding audio experience, as it is regarded as one of the best car sound systems in the world.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen for Bentley sound system

Bentley with Beosonic OneTouch

You won’t find any bass or treble dials here. Just move the white circle on the touch-screen to pick from the four distinct audio moods. You can tell the difference straight away – shifting from a clear and precise sound to a much broader listening experience. Each setting is specifically adjusted to the car to give a special sound experience that is perfect for every journey.

Containing the magnificent sound quality is the hand-tailored ‘Z-fold’ roof that can be raised or retracted in just 19 seconds and at up to 50km/h.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed with roof up
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Performance

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed is a powerful convertible GT car that excels both on the road and on the track. The 6.0 litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine is paired with an epic eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and variable all-wheel drive. These specs make the GTC Speed a formidable car that can go from 0 to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 335km/h. Response time from throttle pressure converting to noise and speed is hard to measure – it’s that instantaneous.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed W12 engine
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed 6.0 Litre W12 engine

The fuel economy numbers published by the WLTP suggest something around 20mpg combined city and country driving should be achievable. I travelled over 600km in the Continental GTC Speed and managed only 13mpg (17L/100km).

Technology

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed’s technology is geared towards making the ride as comfortable and convenient as possible. This particular Continental GTC Speed comes with two packages that make life very enjoyable behind the wheel:

  • City Specification
    • The City Spec pack enhances with the 360° top view camera, pedestrian warning, reversing traffic warning, auto-dimming door mirrors and hands-free opening of the boot.
  • Touring Specification
    • The Touring Spec is more sci-fi! The Active Lane Assist can be a little dimwitted at night. With the Bentley Safeguard Plus package, you’ll get a vibrant colour head-up display and a Night Vision camera. Strictly speaking, it’s a thermal imaging camera that detects hot objects; however, it’s impressive all the same.

Cost Return on Investment (ROI)

It’s no secret that the Bentley Continental GTC Speed is a luxurious car with a hefty price tag – starting at $606,700 (before taxes and on-road costs), and the options add another $149,435. However, every penny spent is worth it as this uber-premium car features advanced tech, an interior that defines luxury, and an incredible engine – making it an ideal choice for luxury car aficionados.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed is the world’s best convertible GT car.

Conclusion

I spent four wonderful days with the Bentley Continental GTC Speed just before Christmas. After scheduling issues earlier in the year, I was curious if our paths would cross.

We spent time on the open road (see below) and around the city. There were hot, dappled sunsets and pouring rain in the dead of night. Time with just the car and me – then thrilling my 81-year-old father with a press car in the ‘right colour’ as far as he is concerned. This Bentley is capable of so much and never once fails to impress.

The 6.0 litre W12 Bentley Continental GTC Speed

The world is going electric, and Bentley is no different having announced their ‘Five-in-Five’ plan, which will see five all-electric Bentley vehicles launch – one each year from 2025 – at which point their entire product range will be electric.

I’m sad that this will be the last W12 Bentley Continental GTC Speed. It will forever bring back memories of when Volkswagen acquired Bentley, and extraordinary feats of engineering, technology, styling, and luxury were accomplished.

The 6.0 litre W12 Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Real-World Driving of the Bentley Continental GTC Speed

After receiving the keys and making my way out of the Bentley dealership, I head for my second favourite road – my favourite being Thunderbolts Way, which is just too far to venture in the precious few days I have with the Continental GTC Speed. So it’s up the M1 to Peats Ridge, then to Wollombi and Broke – and back. Wonderfully varied driving less than two hours from Sydney.

On the Freeway

The first stretch up the M1 from Wahroonga to Peats Ridge is idyllic. The 6.0-litre W12 wafts along at less than 2,000 RPM. The Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Assist takes care of my place in the lane and the distance to the car in front (a feature I detest in modern cars). With the roof up, the visibility is excellent, and the road and wind noise at 110km/h is nearly silent.

Sweeping A-Roads

Depressing the beautifully knurled aluminium indicator stalk, I leave the modern freeway and join the old section of the Sydney to Newcastle route. Running north from Peats Ridge to Central Mangrove before turning east towards Somersby, this is a desolate dual-lane road with beautiful sweeping curves and long straight sections of smooth tarmac.

On this road, the Continental GTC Speed is sublime. Not as agile as a Porsche 911, yet nowhere near as wallowy as I was fearing. Direction changes via the beautifully stitched leather and Alcantara steering wheel are immediate and precise – the eight-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission and rear-biased AWD system with all-wheel steering work hard and work well.

At Central Mangrove I head north towards Wollombi. The road narrows and the surface is, shall we say, variable. It’s clear that the local council doesn’t have an appropriate proportion of their budget devoted to road maintenance. I stop to take some photos of the Bentley Continental GTC Speed with a couple of truck drivers taking a break. Thankfully one of them is a car fan, and he snaps away with his phone. The packaging of that 6.0litre W12 under the bonnet impresses greatly.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed
The Bentley Continental GTC Speed

Choppy and Narrow

I left my new mates and pressed on. It has been some time since I drove this road and little has changed. The tight blind corners and alluring straight stretches all familiar. 2.8 tonnes of mind-blowing engineering cossets me in leather whilst the 22-inch 10-spoke Speed Wheels wrapped in enormous Pirelli P-ZERO rubber grip the road. The 420mm steel front brake discs gather heat as the 10-piston callipers bite down hard in changing terrain. The optional 440mm carbon ceramic discs (not fitted) are the largest brakes fitted to any car in the world.

In SPORT mode, a maximum of 28% of the 650hp can be sent to the front wheels. Every time I press the accelerator down, I feel a powerful surge pushing me back in the Diamond-in-Diamond quilted leather seats – and it’s incredible! SPORT mode also firms up the three-chamber air suspension reading the road to ensure that the chassis stays true to the surface. SPORT mode also opens electronic valves in the exhaust system so the savageries of the W12 engine can echo off the surrounding hills.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed interior

I’m back in COMFORT mode as I glide past the Wollombi Tavern. A few discerning locals crane their necks for a better view of the Continental GTC Speed. Once I’m over the Wollombi Brook Bridge the road opens up and the mountains give way to a beautiful summers afternoon. Now is the opportunity to stretch the legs of this jaw-dropping machine.

Pushing Hard

The way this car moves from point to point is mesmerising and occasionally terrifying. On a couple of occasions I underestimate what 900Nm of torque can do and the electronic Limited Slip Differential keeps me out of trouble. One particular section of this road is wide open, flat, and arrow straight. The temptation to push the Continental GTC Speed beyond the prevailing speed limit is very strong. Thankfully, my will power is stronger. I have no doubt that 200km/h+ could be easily achieved, with plenty of room to spare.

I pull into the servo/general store at Broke for a drink. Heat radiates from the wheels and under the bonnet. It’s late in the afternoon on a hot and dry December day.

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed resting at The Broke Store

Heading for Home

I’m aware of the need to return to the Freeway before nightfall because of the abundance of wildlife that might jump onto the road ahead of me. The stunningly sleek black grille and the carbon fiber splitter are no doubt pricey to replace. Although it would give me a chance to use the Night Vision camera fitted to the Continental GTC Speed, but that’s a feature I’ll leave for another time. Instead I drop the roof and make my way home in full convertible GT mode, listening to the unfiltered Bentley chorus, trying to work out how I top this driving experience.

The sun setting over the Bentley Continental GTC Speed
About Author
Mike is the Australian editor of SonnyDickson.com with a lifelong passion for cars, technology and engineering. He reviews and writes about all kinds of motoring and tech products for our readers. Follow Mike on Instagram or send him an email: mike@sonnydickson.com
Similar articles
Review: Hyundai Kona N SUV – Firecracker on Four Wheels
The jacked-up hot hatch with real road presence.