2016 Bentley Continental GTC Review

Continental GTC

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2016 Bentley Continental GTC Overview

If you’re interested in a top-down road tour, few if any vehicles can make it as grand as the 2016 Bentley Continental GTC can. But just in case there were any growing doubts about the Continental GTC’s place among grand tourers, Bentley made some tweaks for the 2016 model.

The first change you’ll notice on this big and beautiful 2-door convertible is in the front, where the bumper has been reshaped to make room for more aggressive fenders. The lower air intake now covers the width of the car and the grille is smaller and has gone from gloss black to bright chrome.

The whole front end looks as though it was born as one solid piece of metal, which is just what Bentley intended. Manufacturers in Crewe, England use a technique called superforming that combines extremely high temperatures (842 degrees Fahrenheit) and air pressure to create Bentley's trademark shapes, immaculate and elegant. This technique was also put to good use in the rear of the Continental GTC, where a new and modest spoiler rises seamlessly from the trunk lid. The rear bumper has also been re-styled, with added chrome. The side view was spruced up with muscular fenders, new side vents in the shape of a “B,” and restyled 20- and 21-inch wheels.

Changes to the interior include a smaller steering wheel, a reworked center console, brighter gauge faces, new color options, and a new vertical stitching pattern for the seats. The upgrades also crept under the hood, where the venerable 12-cylinder engine received a power boost, going from 567 to 582 horsepower and 516 to 531 lb-ft of torque. Fuel efficiency has actually been improved despite the added power thanks to new variable displacement technology that shuts down half the cylinders for those times when you don't need full power.

The Continental GT comes in four trims: V8, V8S, W12 and Speed. The V8 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin turbo 8-cylinder that produces 500 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque. That same engine (which is also used in the Audi S8) powers the V8S, but has been goosed to churn out 521 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. Both models are all-wheel drive (AWD), with an 8-speed automatic transmission equipped with paddle shifters. Despite their power differences, both the V8 and V8S get mileage of 15 mpg city/25 highway/19 combined.

The W12 and Speed trims both come with the boosted 6.0-liter twin turbo 12-cylinder engine. In the W12, this engine churns out 582 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque, and in the Speed those numbers get pushed to 626 horsepower and 607 lb-ft. These two trims are also AWD, with the 8-speed automatic transmission, and they get mileage of 12/20/15.

Those lucky enough to test drive the Continental GTC seem to prefer the handling qualities of the V8 models. The throttle response is quicker, there’s little lag, and it hugs corners a touch tighter. The W12 convertible feels more like a grand tourer compared to the V8 trims and the W12 coupes, which have a stiffer body than their convertible cousins.

So, just how much attention does Bentley pay to its luxurious interior? Let’s just say it takes up to 15 hours to create the hand-stitched leather steering wheel cover. You can do the rest of the math, or you can just sit in the plush leather seats and note how soft and and yielding they feel on first touch and how supportive they feel after hours of driving. And if you want to keep the top down even on chilly days, those seats also come with an optional neck warmer that blows a silent stream of warm air from a vent hidden discreetly beneath the headrest.

The Continental GTC is loaded with standard features like dual zone automatic air conditioning for the front and rear (with separate controls for each), heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth, GPS navigation, an LCD monitor, a 30GB hard drive that helps run the infotainment systems, and a premium 8-speaker audio system. And if something doesn’t come standard, chances are pretty good that you can add it with Bentley’s Personal Commission program.

Standard safety features for all Continental GTC models include self-leveling high-intensity-discharge headlights, daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side-mounted airbags, front and rear head protection airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, and a remote antitheft alarm.

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After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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