Fastest four-seat convertible unveiled

Last updated 12:30 03/01/2013

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What's big and purple and begins with B? Children might answer Barney the dinosaur but it can also apply to Bentley's new flagship convertible.

The purple haze of the 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible could, however, lead some to say it is a bit of a dinosaur any way with its whopping twin-turbocharged six-litre W12 engine in these times of high oil prices.

Bentley claims the engine offers a 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency, but found in the nearly 2000-word press release was the company's economy claim for the luxury rag top of 22.3 litres per 100 kilometres for urban driving.

Suppose that if you can afford the price tag of around $400,000, you probably won't be quibbling over the high cost of fuel.

The 616 horses under the bonnet, according to Bentley, make the Continental GT Speed the fastest truly four-seat convertible in the world. Top speed is listed as a slick 325 kmh, although there aren't many places you could test that claim legally in New Zealand.

It weighs in at a hefty 2900 kg, but the 12-cylinder engine can still push the all-wheel-drive cruiser to 0-100 kmh in 4.4 secs and 0-160 kmh 9.7 secs but that kind of acceleration will surely mean fuel consumption is a lot higher that the company's economy claim.

It comes with all the Speed-family luxury attachments and a few more added for good measure include neck warmers in the seats to enhance top down cruising, 21-inch alloy wheels unique to this car, as well dark-tint grilles and "rifled" exhaust tail pipes.

The "rag top" is a four-layer hood to "ensure high levels of refinement and acoustic insulation exhaustively tested in all conditions from -30 deg Celsius to +50 deg C." It is claimed the roof will resist even monsoon-force rain and maintain comfortable draft-free warmth even on the coldest days.

The Bentley's first official "public" viewing will be at this month's Detroit Auto Show.

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