28 Aug 2011

2012 Bentley Continental GTC: First Look

Competes with: Aston Martin DB9 Volante convertible, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
Looks like: Subtle changes are well worth the wait
Drivetrain: 567-hp, 6.0-liter W-12; six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Late 2011

After taking a year off, the Bentley Continental GTC is back for a second generation. Overall, the model undergoes the same aesthetic and mechanical upgrades that the Bentley Continental GT received. To read our review of that very similar model, check out Cars.com senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder’s review here.

Whereas the previous Bentley GTC aimed to look more modern — at the expense of Bentley’s storied past — the new model isn’t shy about showing its heritage. Like the GT coupe, the redesigned GTC gets subtle exterior changes that add more definition to the body, particularly around back: The more pronounced rear fenders and the trunk’s raised crease line help invoke images of Bentleys from long ago. You can see elements of the 60-year-old Mark VI and R-Type here.

All GTCs now get 20-inch wheels standard, with three differently styled 21-inch wheels optional. (Those are a first.)

Along with the looks, the GTC’s chassis has been reworked. It now features a wider front and rear track, sharper steering and a retuned suspension. There’s also a new 40/60 rear-biased all-wheel-drive system (compared with 50/50 in the old model) to reduce understeer, Bentley says.

An upgraded engine now uses twin turbos on the 6.0-liter W-12, boosting power to 567 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque. That’s 15 hp and 37 pounds-feet more than the previous model.

The interior gets updates, too. There’s a new dash padded in leather and more legroom for backseat passengers. A new touch-screen with Google Maps, navigation and a media interface for a 30-gigabyte hard drive is standard, along with automatic seat-belt presenters and a neck warmer.

The GTC is still available with just a soft-top. Bentley is taking orders now and should start making its first deliveries later this year.

The latest GTC starts at an eye-watering $212,800, up from $201,500 in 2011. While that 5.6% price increase is probably insignificant to the folks who buy such extravagance, just keep in mind that the $11,300 difference could get you an entry-level 2012 Nissan Versa hatchback.

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