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    William Maley

    2019 Bentley Continental GT Decides To Go Topless

      For those who want speed and comfort with the top down


    For those wondering when Bentley was planning to introduce a drop-top version of the second-generation Continental GT, wonder no more. This week, Bentley has revealed the 2019 Continental GT Convertible.

    There isn't any significant design changes aside from the roof being lopped off. The new power-folding soft top opens and closes in 19 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. Bentley is offering a tweed option for the roof. The interior is lavishly appointed with impressive materials and a new neckwarmer system to keep warm when the top is down.

    Power comes from a 6.0L twin-turbo W12 producing 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. 0-60 mph takes 3.7 seconds - just a tenth slower than the coupe. Not bad since the convertible comes in a hefty 5,322 pounds.

    Bentley hasn't announced a launch timeframe or price for the Continental GT Convertible.

    Gallery: 2019 Bentley Continental GT Convertible

    Source: Bentley


    ALL-NEW BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT CONVERTIBLE: THE PINNACLE OPEN-TOP GRAND TOURER

    • Third generation model represents all Bentley knows about creating the world’s definitive Grand Tourers
    • Beautiful, roof up or down, GT Convertible’s flowing, elegant exterior styling is accented with muscular, sculptural lines
    • Finest handcrafted materials and in-car technologies harmonise to create a connected, personalised cabin
    • Bentley Rotating Display offers customers option of a digital detox
    • Elegantly tailored convertible roof sweeps open in 19 seconds to reveal exquisite, luxurious handcrafted interior
    • Contemporary tweed Convertible roof available for the first time
    • Serenity and style: unique Z-fold roof offers sportier appearance and three-decibel noise reduction
    • New Convertible GT cabin as quiet as previous generation Coupe model
    • All-season open-top Grand Touring enabled thanks to sophisticated luxury features
    • Powerful and responsive driving experience from 635 PS W12 engine, eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and latest chassis technologies
    • Convertible body-in-white now 20 per cent lighter, five per cent stiffer
    • 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds); top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph)

    (Crewe, 26 November 2018) Bentley is introducing the all-new Continental GT Convertible. Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain – and representing all Bentley knows about creating the world’s most stylish and elegant Grand Tourers – the GT Convertible is the very essence of the luxury brand.

    Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors, said: “Elegant understatement that forces you to look; engineering excellence you’ll take for granted – the extraordinary breadth of capabilities offered by the new Continental GT Convertible is unique and can only be offered by our noble British brand.

    We have been building luxury Grand Tourers since the company was founded in 1919 and, as we approach our centenary year, the Continental GT Convertible joins a highly acclaimed range – arguably the strongest and most technologically advanced portfolio of products the world has ever seen in one luxury brand.”

    Elegant and sculptural exterior styling harmonises perfectly with an exquisite handcrafted cabin, featuring the highest quality leathers and sustainably sourced veneers.

    The tailored convertible roof can be deployed or stowed in just 19 seconds, with the car travelling at speeds of up to 30 mph (50 km/h). This transforms the Continental GT Convertible from a luxurious coupe into an open-top Grand Tourer at the touch of a button. Seven different fabric hood colours are available, including an authentic tweed finish for the first time.

    A newly designed neckwarmer (which is both warmer and quieter than in the previous generation model), is seamlessly integrated into the heated Comfort Seats, optimising efficiency and airflow around the electrically adjustable headrests. The styling highlight of the new neckwarmer is a chrome centre vane that stretches the full width of the duct, echoing Bentley’s famous ‘bullseye’ vents. Combined with a heated steering wheel, seat heaters and new heated armrests, these sophisticated comfort features create a luxurious driving experience in all environments.

    The all-new Continental GT Convertible heightens the sensory experience of open-air motoring with exhilarating performance. A powerful 6.0-litre Bentley W12 engine is mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission. [WLTP drive cycle: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) - Combined 20.2 (14.0). Combined CO₂- 317g/km. NEDC drive cycle equivalent: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) – Combined 22.8 (12.4). Combined CO₂ - 284g/km.]

    The new powertrain uses the latest engine management technology to produce 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, and accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds), on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph).

    The new Continental GT Convertible also showcases major evolutions in Bentley’s unique application of technology. An advanced, fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel and Bentley Rotating Display for the driver are among the suite of innovations. The latter features an impressive 12.3” touchscreen housed in a three-sided unit, which revolves from pure veneer to reveal either a touchscreen or three elegant analogue dials – offering customers the option of a digital detox when desired.

    Elegant, sophisticated and refined, the all-new Continental GT Convertible is the pinnacle of open-top luxury Grand Touring.

    Effortless Elegance Meets Power and Style

    Unmistakably a Bentley – the third generation Continental GT Convertible retains the elegance and style of its forebears. More sculpted and sharply defined, the all-new body and materials combine to create a truly beautiful car – roof up or down.

    The Convertible’s profile is longer and lower than its forebear due to the positioning of the front wheels 135 mm further forward. This has allowed the bonnet to be extended and the nose to be lowered. The key signature power lines of its coupe sibling still dominate, flowing back towards the muscular rear haunches.

    The lighting on the Continental GT Convertible uses the latest LED Matrix technology, but it is the design of the headlamps that truly sets them apart. Inspired by the finest cut-crystal glasses, the internal surfaces are transparent with sharply defined edges that catch the light like a diamond.

    The result is similar to that of an illuminated gem – an effect which is magnified when the optional welcome sequence gradually illuminates the headlights as you approach the car. The taillights also feature the cut-crystal effect, highlighting the three-dimensional depth of the optics.

    The all-new Continental GT Convertible has 21” Five Tri-Spoke wheels as standard, with the option of 10-Spoke and 22” Five Open-Spoke wheels. These three wheel designs are offered in a selection of ten polished and painted finishes.

    Convertible customers can choose from the palette of 17 colours, including Beluga, Onyx and Portofino. An optional extended range of colours is also available – as well as the option of full bespoke colour-matching for Bentley customers. These can be coordinated with seven exterior roof colours.

    A Handcrafted Luxurious Cabin

    The exquisite interior of the all-new Continental GT Convertible is a showcase for Bentley’s unrivalled expertise in the use of natural materials, fully revealed to the world when the elegant roof is lowered.

    From the highest-quality leathers, to rare, sustainably sourced veneers, such as Koa and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus, the cabin is a triumph for craftsmanship and artisanal skill. Unique dual-veneer is offered, with over 10 square metres of wood used in every car. Customers have the choice of a polished wooden steering wheel too.

    The dashboard is styled and sculpted by long, flowing wings that mirror the shape of the Bentley badge. Continental GT Convertible customers can choose from eight interior hood lining colours, including Red, Blue and Magnolia.

    The centre console is finished to match the lower fascia, but can be specified in a new technical finish that is inspired by the delicate mechanical surfacing inside the finest mechanical Swiss watches, known as Côtes de Genève. This surface is machined onto 0.6 mm-thick aluminium and is created by machining from side to side to create a linear pattern. Each row is 5 mm wide and machined at an angle to give a truly three-dimensional finish, with each pass of the machine making a minute step of 0.5 mm.

    New types of luxurious haptic finishes adorn the interior of the Continental GT Convertible for greater sensory, as well as visual, enjoyment. In some areas, pillow knurling replaces the traditional mechanical knurling, for a softer, more refined feel on switches and controls, while diamond knurling adds a luxurious touch using a detailed three-dimensional faceted surface.

    The 20-way adjustable Comfort Seats set new industry standards in comfort and refinement. Smooth centre panels allow maximum efficiency for the ventilation, heating and massage functions, while the adjustable bolsters retain the signature Bentley quilting. There is also the option of Hand Cross Stitch finishing.

    A choice of three audio systems is offered in the new Continental GT Convertible. The standard system features 10 speakers and 650 Watts, while a Bang & Olufsen 1,500 W, 16-speaker system with illuminated speaker grilles is available, benefiting from the first automotive application of the BeoSonic system – a new way for tone setting with a simple, intuitive one-touch user interface.

    A Naim 2,200 W, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and eight sound modes is offered for the true audiophile.

    Behind the wheel, the technological advancements in the new Continental GT Convertible continue. The driver-orientated instrument panel is fully digital and can be personalised by the driver.

    The Bentley Rotating Display offers the choice between a digital or analogue journey. At first glance there appears to be no screen in the centre of the dashboard. Instead, the veneer flows uninterrupted across the dashboard, while a thin chrome bezel behind the steering wheel surrounds a digital instrument display.

    When the engine start button is pressed, however, the veneer in the middle of the dashboard glides silently forward and rotates to reveal Bentley’s largest-ever touchscreen, a 12.3” high-definition-quality digital MMI display, elegantly designed by Bentley with a customer-configurable home screen with three windows able to display the driver’s preferred functions, for example, navigation, media and telephone. The user interface is designed to be akin to a modern mobile phone and menus are structured to be instantly intuitive.

    The third side on the Bentley Rotating Display reveals three elegant analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass and chronometer. Such an innovative use of traditional elements underscores Bentley’s unique commitment to the past and the future, and offers customers the choice of digital or analogue display or clean, calm cabin.

    The new Continental benefits from features designed to keep both driver and passengers connected at all times. Apple CarPlay, the smartest and quickest way to integrate the functionality of Apple devices in a car is connected via a USB port.

    Customer journeys are streamlined with features designed to improve navigation. Online search, powered by Google makes finding destinations simple, while real-time traffic information keeps the driver informed of current length or changes in congestion. In emergency situations, Private eCall provides instant access to emergency services for ultimate peace of mind when travelling.

    Exceptional Optionality including a Tweed Convertible Roof

    The all-new Continental GT Convertible redefines personalisation with paint, leather, veneer and lifestyle options that are virtually unlimited and tailored to the individual.

    The standard palette alone comprises 17 exterior paint colours, with up to 70 hues available in the extended range. There are also 15 luxurious carpet options, eight different handcrafted veneers (with a further four dual veneer options) and 15 choices of interior trim hide, which means that customers are able to specify their own choice of luxury finish.

    Seven exterior roof colours are available, including for the first time a contemporary interpretation of traditional British tweed. Black, Blue, Claret and Grey are among the other options. Furthermore, eight interior roof liner finishes are offered, ranging from New Red to Magnolia.

    The unique Z-fold convertible roof system represents a major improvement both in terms of refinement and packaging. The roof, with its sealing system improvements and acoustic treatments, contributes to a three-decibel reduction in overall noise levels compared to its predecessor at typical cruising speeds.

    An entirely new combination of roof insulating materials and operating mechanism, combined with sealing system improvements and acoustic treatments, have created a Convertible Grand Tourer that is as quiet as the previous generation Continental GT Coupe.

    Two technology option packs are offered at launch: City Specification for urban journeys and the Touring Specification for long-distance driving, both curated to optimise the customer experience.

    City Specification includes hands-free boot opening, pedestrian warning, traffic-sign recognition and city braking systems as well as a top-view camera. The Touring Specification pack, meanwhile, offers adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist, active lane assist, a heads-up display, night vision with an infrared camera, and pre-sense braking.

    The Mulliner Driving Specification adds a more sporting look to the car with 22” lightweight forged alloy wheels, unique ‘diamond in diamond’ quilting, embroidered Bentley emblems, additional veneer options, a jewelled-finish fuel filler, sports pedals and indented leather headliner. Customers can also choose personalised stitching in the front and rear of the car and personalised treadplates.

    As with all Bentleys, the Continental GT Convertible can also be handed over to the highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople at Mulliner, Bentley’s personal commissioning division, who will respond to bespoke customer requirements.

    Sublime Power: The Beating Heart of Bentley

    The all-new Continental GT Convertible is offered at launch with Bentley’s 6.0-litre, W12 TSI engine. Designed, developed and handbuilt in Crewe, it is the most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world.

    The new powertrain uses the very latest engine management technology, with 300 million software calculations per second. It produces 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, accelerating the Convertible to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds), on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph).

    The W12 TSI combines high-pressure direct fuel injection with low-pressure injection. The combination of these two systems maximises refinement, lowers particulate emissions and optimises power and torque delivery. [WLTP drive cycle: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) - Combined 20.2 (14.0). Combined CO₂- 317g/km. NEDC drive cycle equivalent: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) – Combined 22.8 (12.4). Combined CO₂ - 284g/km.]

    The new engine utilises Start-Stop technology and, in Bentley’s advanced application, coasting is also made possible. The engine rests not only when the vehicle is stationary but also at near-to-stop speeds.

    Bentley’s Variable Displacement system shuts down half of the engine under defined conditions. Intake and exhaust valves, fuel injection and ignition are all shut down on defined cylinders, with the engine running as a six-cylinder for improved efficiency.

    Significantly, a new dual-mass flywheel replaces the torque converter, to dampen out the oscillations of the driveline and provide a fittingly smooth power delivery for luxury touring.

    The dual-clutch eight-speed transmission provides smooth acceleration and impressively quick gearshifts, hallmarks of the Continental GT character, as well as combined fuel economy of 22.8 mpg (UK) or 12.4 L/100 km (NEDC combined).

    A new Active All-Wheel-Drive System replaces the traditional 40:60 power delivery split between front and rear wheels respectively, instead varying the front-to-rear torque split dependent upon the driving situation.

    Unrivalled Grand Touring Ride and Handling

    The third generation of Continental GT Convertible features Bentley Dynamic Ride, an advanced 48-volt roll control system for unrivalled car control. The system controls and adjusts the electronic actuators on the anti-roll bar of each axle and so improves handling and ride comfort, as well as making the car feel lighter and more precise.

    This system instantly counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering and ensures maximum tyre-to-road contact to deliver class-leading ride comfort and exceptional handling.

    While conventional anti-roll bars present a compromise between body control and ride comfort, Bentley’s active system provides variable torsional resistance, allowing the Continental GT Convertible to be both dynamically capable and comfortable for all occupants at all times. The use of a 48-volt system results in silent, instantaneous responses and sufficient power on hand to deal with all road surfaces.

    Through Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Control different modes can be selected: Comfort mode, Bentley mode or Sport mode; the suspension, engine, gearbox and other chassis systems will modify to match the selected drive mode. Alternatively, the driver can personalise his or her own dynamic settings.

    The air suspension on the new Continental GT Convertible uses three-chamber air springs which give the car 60 per cent more air volume in the softest setting than the previous model. This allowed Bentley’s engineers more scope for tuning the suspension to improve the ride comfort and dynamic character of the car. The system offers the scope to vary from sporting spring stiffness to luxury limousine refinement depending upon which mode the driver has selected.

    As a foundation for this impressive handling, the Continental GT Convertible boasts a body-in-white structure that manages to be both stiffer and lighter than its predecessor. This five per cent improvement in torsional rigidity and 20 per cent reduction in structural weight are achievable thanks to the intelligent utilisation of aluminium and high-tensile steel in the platform.

    Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) is also featured on the Continental GT Convertible. The new system improves feedback to the driver, while providing isolation from unwanted road disturbances. The steering system features a variable rack ratio, allowing increased response with higher steering angles to aid manoeuvrability whilst maintaining excellent stability at high speeds.

    Another key feature is the latest-generation Continuous Damping Control (CDC), which constantly adjusts the damper forces to optimise comfort. The system continually measures the velocity and distance between the wheels and the body at each corner and also adjusts the air volume in the springs if necessary to ensure the optimum balance of comfort and handling. Both front and rear axles are of a lightweight aluminium construction, with multilink design at the front and rear.

    The braking system is the most powerful iron system ever fitted to a Bentley, with a total of 28 pistons. Front brake discs measuring 420 mm are a two-piece construction utilising a cast-iron friction ring and aluminium mounting bell. Front calipers feature ten pistons each, while rear calipers contain four pistons each that clamp 380 mm single-piece discs. Brakes of this scale provide the reliable, repeatable stopping performance inherently important to a 200+ mph sporting Grand Tourer.

    Bentley has worked together with Pirelli to create bespoke tyres for the new Continental GT Convertible right from the very beginning of the design phase. The car runs exclusively on Pirelli P Zero tyres, using a different tyre size between front and rear axles for the first time, to enhance dynamic ability. During the development process, Pirelli’s engineers sat alongside their counterparts from Bentley, driving and refining the car-tyre package until the perfect balance was reached between performance and comfort.

    The latest material compounds help the tyre respond more directly to driver inputs, ensuring a dynamic experience that is balanced and communicative.

    The P Zero tyre fitted to the Bentley also has Pirelli’s Noise Cancelling System which reduces road noise coming into the cabin. At the same time, rolling resistance is also improved on the latest P Zero tyres, creating less friction against the road without compromising grip. As a result, both wet and dry grip represent a step forward, with a noticeably reduced risk of aquaplaning.

    Edited by William Maley

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    It'd be a refreshing change if VW hired some stylists and breathed SOME whisper of life into the exterior of Bentleys. Equal parts bloated blockiness and generic ugliness certainly leaves a 1000 miles' room for improvement.

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    I love the interior...the exterior is much improved over the previous generation, IMO.   When I was first looking at the pictures, I saw some familiarity to the rear quarter contour.   I saw a very slight unintentional resemblance to a VWAG product from long ago... 

    Edited by Robert Hall

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      Inside the CX-5, the premium story continues. There is a distinct lack of cheap plastic even in places where they could probably get away with it. The dash and door panels are made of soft-touch material and there is a tasteful amount of chrome trim. Though the seats look black in pictures, they are actually a very dark brown that Mazda calls Caturra Brown Nappa leather. This leather is a feature of the Signature trim level and they are both heated and ventilated.  Rear passengers get heated outboard seats as well, controlled from inside the fold-down center armrest. Also, a feature of the Signature trim is the real wood dash inlay and ambient cabin lighting. The seats in the CX-5 are very comfortable with just the right combination of support and cushion. They would be most welcome companions on a long road trip. The rear seats are fairly flat and do not offer a lot of legroom.  There is no adjustment fore and aft.  Wind and tire noise has been kept to a minimum.
      There are 4 USB ports, two in the up front armrest and two in the rear armrest. Only one of them allows a connection to the infotainment system.  Oddly, the USB ports don’t seem to put out much juice as my phones were very slow to charge from them.
      The infotainment system is another area similar to BMW.  The unit is controlled by a large dial in the center console or touch screen controls. I found the touch aspect to be laggy and a long reach, so I found myself using the dial. Using the dial to navigate is simple enough, but the menus and layout of the screen could probably use a re-think.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both here, for some reason only Apple CarPlay can be activated by touch. Operating either system is frustrating with the dial however, this is especially true for Android Auto which I found frustrating to use without touch screen functionality. At least, unlike BMW, Mazda doesn’t charge you an extra subscription fee to use them. Sound from the Bose speakers was clear, but not especially great.
      There was a time when people mostly bought crossovers for the utility of hauling lots of bulky stuff home from the store, however, these days are different. Now, crossovers are a fashion statement.  Still, the CX-5 has 59.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded and 30.9 cubic feet with the seats up.  That is at the high end of mid-pack in the segment with the Honda CR-V being the leader, while the Toyota RAV-4, Chevy Equinox, and Ford Escape all have less. 
      Do you need a safe space? This may be it.
      The Mazda CX-5 Signature comes with a whole host of safety equipment and the center of it all is the heads-up display that keeps the driver informed.  Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-Keep Assist, and Radar Cruise Control, all have status lights in the heads-up display.  I found the blind spot monitoring system to be especially helpful when I was backing out onto a busy street with limited visibility.  Radar Cruise control is one of my favorite systems of all and I feel it should be standard equipment on all cars. The CX-5 can even read speed limit and stop signs as you approach, changing and updating the local regulations in the heads up display.
      The Signature also comes with active headlights that turn when you turn to help see around corners. They helped me spot a deer on the side of the road I normally would not have seen.
      The Verdict
      The CX-5 Signature is the top of the CX-5 line, so naturally, the price is reflected in that. With an MSRP of $36,890 before any options, the CX-5 may seem pricey, but it comes with everything you could possibly want.  However, when you compare it to other small crossovers with similar equipment it actually ends up comparing favorably to others in its class. I priced out Jeep Cherokee Overland with the 2.0T and technology group and the MSRP is $41,685. A GMC Terrain Denali with all the same option boxes checked? $41,430.  A Honda CR-V can’t even be equipped like the CX-5 because there is no up-level engine option, yet it still rings up to $38,147.
      Overall, Mazda has produced a handsome, sporty, fun to drive crossover with enough utility to remain competitive. They’ve loaded it with safety equipment and kept the price in check. It is definitely worth a look.
       
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Toyota has announced that they will be bringing a new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to the Los Angeles Auto Show this year.  The difference for this hybrid is that it will be a plug-in and it will also be more powerful. Toyota promises "spirited acceleration" in their press release.  As we get closer to the show, we'll get more details on range, power, battery size, etc. 
      The RAV4 is already the best selling crossover in the segment and that could mean that the RAV4 PHEV could end up being the most popular PHEV for sale. Globally that title currently belongs to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. 
      Toyota has twice previously made full EV versions of the RAV4, but limited their sales primarily to California where they enjoyed limited success as "compliance vehicles" with 1,484 sold of the first generation and 2,600 copies of the 3rd generation.  There was no second generation RAV4 EV.

      View full article
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