While BMW-owned Rolls-Royce remains the definition of automotive elitism, with one single model priced well above $300,000, Bentley's parent company Volkswagen has turned its British brand into the peoples' car of the upperclass. Since acquiring the Bentley, VW has added four models--the Continental GT, the Continental Flying Spur, a new Azure, and now the Continental GTC--to a lineup that previously consisted solely of the aging Arnage.
The latest addition, the Continental GTC convertible, joins the Ferrari Superamerica and the F430 Spider in an elite class of production droptops capable of a reaching 190 mph or more. The GTC looks beautiful with the soft fabric roof in place, but watching the top tuck elegantly under the leather tonneau is like seeing a supermodel drop her Versace gown to the runway floor. With its wood veneers and countless leather hides shining in the sun, the Conti convertible is the most exciting and extroverted of the bargain-Bentley lineup. "The Continental GTC is the third step in our new product and segment strategy," explains Bentley chairman Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen. "It will again open up the Bentley brand to more customers who only buy convertibles, as well as being a logical next car for our existing owners." With the prevalence of Conti GTs and Flying Spurs in stylish sun spots from Miami Beach to Malibu, we think going topless is the right move for the Continental line. The GTC will appeal to customers who want more space and understated elegance than the Ferrari F430 Spider, the Aston-Martin DB9 Volante, or the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG can offer.
The Continental GTC will begin cruising boulevards this fall. While Bentley has not confirmed pricing, this third Continental likely will cost more than the coupe and sedan but remain well under $200,000.