Bentley Motors is revamping its bestseller ahead of its centennial this summer.
The British automaker said on Monday it will release two versions of the 2020 Bentley Continental GT Convertible this year: the $236,100 flagship W12 model and a $218,350 V8-powered version.
The open-top grand tourer is everything you’d expect from Bentley. It requires nine hours to handcraft the interior’s wooden veneer and a full week to sew the standard 310,675 stitches into its quilted leather upholstery.
“The poor guy who had to find this out is in the madhouse, unfortunately,” Stefan Sielaff, Bentley’s director of design, joked last month at the car’s launch in Marbella, Spain.
Executives expect the makeover to help maintain a six-year sales streak that has seen Bentley’s global sales top 10,000 units. Bentley debuted the third-generation coupe version last year, with a V8-powered model coming later this year. The convertible is expected to account for roughly two-thirds of the grand tourer’s sales in the U.S.
“In the Americas, we see a significant preference towards convertibles,” said Erin Bronner, a Bentley spokeswoman. “Our customers enjoy the thrill of open top motoring, which is perfectly suited to the warmer climates within the U.S.”
The convertible has traveled far since the nameplate’s 2003 launch hailed the brand’s rebirth. Seeking to establish a new segment as a “modern luxury grand tourer,” the Continental borrows its heritage from Bentley’s R-Type Continental, the world’s fastest four-seater when it debuted in 1952.
Like the $214,600 coupe version that launched last year, the new convertible displays regal proportions with a shorter front overhang, longer rear overhang and bigger wheels. The W12 version makes 626 horsepower and achieves a top speed of 207 mph. Its smaller V8 companion delivers 542 horsepower and a maximum speed of 198 mph.
The cabin features 2.8 kilometers of thread – with 712 stitches per diamond – and 10 square meters of wooden veneer measured within a fraction of a millimeter, topped with “almost jewelry-like” diamond knurling, according to Sielaff. The stitching takes a team of craftspeople at Bentley’s Crewe, U.K. headquarters between 20 and 40 hours to complete.
The all-weather conveyance comes with a heated steering wheel, heated arm rests and an improved version of Bentley’s neck-warming technology. Its Z-fold, push-button roof – available in British tweed finish for the first time – vanishes into the car’s stately waistline in a leisurely 19 seconds, befitting a grand tour.