The New Bentley Continental GTC - Design Concept

Bentley Continental GTC

Bentley Continental GTC

Design Concept

The Continental GTC is an open-top 2+2 in true Bentley tradition. Its convertible nature means that every sensation of driving is transmitted to the driver and passengers yet the Continental GTC succeeds in offering something more for the senses, as Bentley Motors’ Design Director Dirk van Braeckel reveals:

“The sporting stance of the Continental GTC is unique and quite different from the Continental GT coupé, with its compact soft top and longer rear deck. And with the roof down the exterior becomes a showcase for the hand-crafted interior.”

The new car blends clear Continental lineage with its own personality and character - a unique mix of sporting dynamism and the added elegance you expect from a convertible. That means the new car has simple, clean lines that are unimpeded by the shutlines and creases that so many convertibles and retractable hard-tops are forced to adopt in order to package the roof when it is folded. Head of Exterior Design, Raul Pires, explains the process:

“Our ambition was to produce a design that was simple and elegant - that was very important. We worked very closely with the engineers to get a very clean rear deck and bootlid. If you look at the front and the rear of the car you can see we achieved this by echoing the flow of the bonnet lines into the radiator at the front with the bootlid lines into the rear bumper. It gives the car real balance.”

To ensure that the design was not compromised in any way, the Continental GTC’s engineering team was charged with creating a completely new rear suspension package that allowed the rear design of the car to be kept as compact as possible while still giving enough space to stow the roof when folded. Similarly, a great deal of time was spent on ensuring that the soft fabric roof is perfectly taut and not ‘bowed’ or ‘pitched’ when raised.

“When you see the Continental GTC with the roof up, the weight bias is moved towards the back,” explains Raul Pires. “The glass area appears to be a little smaller than on the coupé version and the cabin looks so low that it has this great sportscar feel.”

As on the entire Continental range, the GTC’s design has also been influenced by the need to ensure perfect aerodynamic balance at speeds close to 200mph (320km/h). The convertible spent many hours in the wind tunnel to ensure a low drag coefficient and like the coupé and four-door versions it utilises an underbody diffuser and specially sculpted rear bumper and bootlid edge to provide downforce and stability at high speed.

continues... | Part Two
Published 16 April 2006 Melanie Carter

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