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New Bentley convertible stints on tech, not luxury (pictures)

The recently announced Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is a tour de force of luxury, a good example of the marque's coachwork, but its cabin tech falls short of the cutting edge.

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Bentley makes a number of variations of its Continental, including the Supersports, Speed, and convertible versions. CNET took a drive in the newly announced convertible version of the Continental GT Speed.
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Bentley design refrains from excessive ornamentation, emphasizing subtle lines. Body seams are welded, ground, and polished for a smooth body surface.
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As a Speed variation on the Continental theme, this car comes with a twin-turbocharged W-12 6-liter engine, which makes 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, bringing the 5,500-pound car to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Just don't ask about fuel economy.
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The power-operated convertible top folds down under an automatic tonneau cover.
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The 21-inch wheels hide 16-inch brake rotors in front. Ceramic brakes are optional.
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The GT Speed Convertible rides on an air suspension, which the driver can set to four different modes between Sport and Comfort.
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The trunk space is not particularly large, as the large top folds up into an area behind the rear seat.
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Long doors make access to the rear seats possible, although legroom is limited.
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Much of the cost of a Bentley comes from the coachwork, which is almost all handmade.
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The power steering uses a speed-sensitive system, but still remains somewhat light at speed.
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Bentley preserves its traditional look in the gauge faces, showing engine speed in 100s instead of today's typical 1,000s.
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The infotainment gear in the GT Speed Convertible is similar to that found in Audi models. It has the capability to show Google Earth maps, but that feature is only available where Bentley has a data vendor in place.
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A hard drive in the infotainment system handles music storage, but this library interface looks a little rough for the car's price tag.
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The satellite radio interface includes graphical icons for stations.
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One of the high points of the cabin tech is the optional Naim audio system, which produces excellent sound quality.

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