2009 Bentley Continental GTC Speed

In a word, it’s Awesome

2009 Bentley Continental GTC Speed

I almost never use the word awesome anymore. Unfortunately, young people have ruined that word by using it so cavalierly, that it has lost all meaning. They describe everything as awesome. To them a Slurpee is awesome, or a video game is awesome, or even a song from a band that sounds like amplified noise is awesome. I, however, reserve that word for describing the sight of the Grand Canyon, or gazing up at a star-filled night sky from the high desert where there isn’t any ambient light for a hundred miles in any direction, and the stars shine so brightly that you’d think you could reach out and touch one.

FAST FACTS

1. Outside, the Speed model differs from a standard GTC thanks dark tinted grilles, larger 20” wheels, a lower suspension, larger exhaust pipes and a subtle trunk spoiler.

2. The Speed gets 50 more horsepower and 74 more ft-lbs of torque from the twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 engine for a total of 600hp and 553 ft-lbs.

3. The Bentley Continental GTC Speed starts at $231,400 but with all the add-ons our tester came to $270,795.

I especially don’t use the word awesome as it relates to a car or a motorcycle, regardless of its performance capabilities, and I’ve ridden or driven them all – from the top of the line Ducati motorcycle, to Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Mercedes, and even a NASCAR race car. But I am making an exception to my rule. After driving the Bentley Continental GTC Speed, I can with good conscience, describe it as an awesome motorcar.

I have experienced the luxury amenities of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. I’ve experience the superb ride quality of a Maybach. I’ve been thrilled by the performance of a NASCAR racer, and a Ferrari F-40 on a racetrack. I’ve been impressed with the sophisticated technological systems of the S-Class Mercedes, and have studied the hand-built coachwork of an Aston Martin. But to my mind, the Bentley GTC SPEED is one motorcar that combines the attributes of all the other cars into one package, and it makes for the most unique driving experience I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.

PERFECTLY LUXURIOUS INTERIOR

Slip into the cabin of the GTC and be prepared to be coddled by the diamond quilted leather seats (heated, of course, and with optional massage feature) that seem to envelope you in luxury; supportive, without being overly bolstered. The massive door swings with a feather light touch, yet closes with the authority of a bank vault. Grasp the three-spoke leather steering wheel and gaze at the dials, gauges and controls, surrounded by mirrored patterns of the wood dash which has five coats of lacquer and has been polished to a high gloss sheen, and you know you’re in a special car.

12 CYLINDERS, TWO TURBOS AND 600 HORSEPOWER

The insulated 3 layer Alcantera fabric roof folds flat in 25 seconds and you’re ready to enjoy the unique open air driving experience. The GTC Speed is powered by Bentley’s 6.0-liter, W12 twin-turbo engine, which puts out 600 hp, and 553 ft-lbs of torque, which will power the 5,500 lb car to 60 miles per hour in a mere 4.5 seconds, hit 100 miles per hour in only 10.6 seconds, and reach a terminal velocity of 200 miles per hour with the top up. The extra drag of top-down driving will limit your top speed to a mere 195.

With performance numbers like these, when pressing hard on the gas pedal, you’d expect to feel and hear the violent cacophony of 12 pistons powering up and down, and a roar sounding out from the dual stainless steel exhaust ports to be loud enough to scare the local wildlife. But no – with the Speed, you immediately feel your shoulders pinned back against the leather seats, as the g-force of the torque spools up, and you see the tach needle silently fly around the dial to the right, and the speedometer surge almost as quickly, but only a low throaty growl can be heard from the exhaust, and just a faint hint that anything outside of the ordinary is going on beneath the bonnet. And in what seems like a heartbeat, you notice that you’re traveling at speeds high enough to get you thrown in jail if you’re unlucky enough to be seen by the local constabulary.

DYNAMIC YET COMFORTABLE CHAISSIS AND SUSPENSION

Dialing it back to below triple digits, you prepare for the approaching turn up ahead, and you feel like the speed-sensitive steering is directly connected to your brain, as the big Bentley tracks into the corner with just the slightest body roll, and no squeal from the huge 275/35//20 PZero Pirellis. As you accelerate out of the turn, the big 12-cylinder motor exhibits no flat spot, no turbo-lag, just smooth as butter strong acceleration forcing you forward to the next turn. That’s when you realize that you’ve been through this section of road several times earlier in the day in other cars, and you know that the stretch of pavement is pock-marked and broken up. You’ve had to make mid corner steering corrections and suffer some wheel hop on the other cars, but in the GTC Speed, you didn’t even notice that the tarmac was anything but glass smooth. That’s when the word awesome enters your mind. Flat cornering at speed, with a light, almost hovercraft feel from this amazing suspension, let you know that they’ve got the chassis balanced and sorted out just right.

Up front you’ve got four-link double wishbones, with a computer controlled self-leveling air suspension and an anti-roll bar. The rear features a trapezoidal multi-link set-up. The springs are computer controlled progressive air units, which altogether buffer the driver from any unnecessary road harshness, yet never wallow or feel spongy.

The ride over a rough railroad crossing at 50 mph, that caused considerable judder and cowl shake in a Mercedes SL550 or Aston Martin DB9, and you feel nothing of the sort in the Bentley. Oh, and did I mention that the Bentley features an advanced continuous all-wheel drive system, in case your maniacal driving tendencies don’t shut down when the weather is inclement?

If the Torsen differential detects a deviation in torque demand between the front and real axles, it will automatically send more power to the wheels with greater grip. And while the Bentley can’t totally overcome the laws of physics, the car can help to overcome an overly aggressive driver by utilizing a sophisticated electronic stability program that limits wheel slip at low speeds, yet still allows the driver exploit the full power of the motor.

And so you won’t get too bored while tearing up your favorite stretch of twisties, the Bentley’s ZF gearbox will allow you to switch gears yourself if you like, by either using the steering wheel column-mounted paddles, or the more traditional gear shift lever. If you can’t be bothered with changing your own gears, yet still want to drive more aggressively, you can set the automatic transmission to sport mode, so that the gears with automatically change at higher rpm.

SAFETY FEATURES INCLUDE MASSIVE 16.5-INCH FRONT BRAKES

With all that “go” available at your right foot, Bentley addressed the “whoa” portion of that equation with optional fade resistant carbon ceramic brakes, with cross-drilled 16.5-inch discs up front and 14-inch rear, clamped down by 8-piston calipers. The lightweight materials reduce unsprung weight, which also benefits steering response and handling. They offer race-car-like stopping power, and with excellent feel.

Another safety feature is Bentley’s sophisticated Adaptive Cruise Control, which uses a long-range radar sensor, mounted in the lower front grill, to monitor other vehicles on the road ahead. When a slower moving vehicle is detected, the system will automatically adjust the throttle, or apply the brakes to maintain a “time gap” that the driver selects.

Naturally, the GTC Speed has almost every luxury amenity you can think of from the Nav system, to integrated voice activated Bluetooth. There is a park assist system, so you won’t damage your rear bumper when parallel parking. Memory and heated seats, 6-CD changer, keyless entry with push button start, rain sensing wipers, Bi-Xenon headlamps with integrated washers, and more.

Rear seat room is acceptable for two adults and the trunk is spacious enough for two large golf bags on your way to the course, or plenty of luggage for those long weekend getaways when it’s just not necessary to take the Gulfstream.

WHAT MAKES THE “SPEED” SPECIAL?

The Speed model is visually distinguished from the standard GTC by a few subtle differences like the radiator and lower intake grills featuring a dark tinted matrix. The larger 20” wheels have a distinct multi spoke design, the suspensions sits lower, the twin exhaust pipes are wider, and there is a subtle spoiler on the boot (that’s British for trunk). Inside there is special badging on the doorsills, steering wheel, and a few other touches. And while the standard GTC is no slouch in the power department, having the extra 50 horsepower and 74 ft-lbs of torque is the difference that makes the Speed so special.

THE VERDICT

Now I know I’ve been uncharacteristically gushing like a schoolgirl who just met the Hudson Brothers (or Jonas Brothers for those younger readers) backstage at a concert, but I won’t apologize for it. The Bentley GTC Speed is the most unique and enjoyable motorcar I’ve ever driven. It combines everything I appreciate about a car… supercar speed, outstanding handling, luxury ride quality, sumptuous amenities, and elegant styling, into one package.

The Bentley GTC Speed begins at $231,400. Those Brembo brakes add a whopping $16,500 to the sticker, and add $6,900 for the Premium Audio System, $3,040 for the Adaptive cruise control, and also a few more line items, including the $3,700 Gas Guzzling Tax, (for only making 10 miles per gallon in the city and 17 highway) and the price as tested comes out to $270,795. And while it sounds crazy as I write this, compared to other high-end cars I’ve driven, it seems reasonably priced at that number. Bentley expects to sell about 750 GTC’s in the U.S. this year, with about half of them being the Speed model.

One thing I know for sure – If my Hip-Hop career takes off, or if my government TARP bailout funds come through, or if I win the lottery, this will definitely be the car I’d buy for my every day driver. And now, I’m off to the 7-Eleven in my Nissan. Do the numbers 6-15-29-31-43 and 53 sound lucky to you?

PLUS

Supercar speed Outstanding handling Luxury ride quality Sumptuous amenities Elegant styling

MINUS

My ability to afford one, even though I think it’s worth the price

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked