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Auto blogMon, 23 Sep 2013 17:15:00 EST
Bentley and Rolls-Royce may be as direct as competitors get, but that doesn't mean they go head-to-head on every model. Bentley is arguably more focused on its Continental line, with the pricier Mulsanne branching off of it. Rolls-Royce, meanwhile, only recently expanded (relatively) down-market with the Wraith and the Ghost on which it's based. For Rolls, it's long been about the Phantom and its coupe and convertible variants. And Bentley doesn't pose much of a challenge in that stratospheric segment.
Crewe discontinued the old Arnage-based Brooklands coupe and Azure convertible in 2009 and 2011, respectively, and hasn't rolled out a successor for either in the few years since. The high-end British automaker revealed a conceptual convertible based on the Mulsanne at Pebble Beach Concours last year and was said to be moving ahead with production plans, but the latest intel suggests that Bentley has taken it off the development table.
This according to Car and Driver, which spoke with Bentley's new chief exec Wolfgang Schreiber at the Frankfurt Motor Show. According to Schreiber, there just isn't enough demand worldwide to justify the development costs - even if it is based on the existing flagship sedan. Apparently Bentley has evaluated that beyond the US and Europe, they couldn't sell enough of them in other markets to make it worthwhile. We'd imagine some Middle-Eastern sheikhs might like to get their hands on a few, but apparently the higher priority is getting the Falcon sport-ute out the door.
Bentley has given its new, uprated Continental GT and GTC a live debut in Frankfurt, after a world debut on the interwebs, last week. The new models, which now wear the "V8 S" moniker, share their 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 with the standard GT/GTC V8, but pack an extra 21 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque.
There's also a few suspension and aesthetic tweaks to improve the Continental driving experience. Otherwise, this is just a slightly improved version of an already solid, entertaining and luxurious grand tourer. Scroll down for the official images and a video from Bentley, or hop up top to view our live images from the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. You can also click over for the full story on the newest members of the Bentley family.
What you see above is the Bentley Grand Convertible, live from the Los Angeles Auto Show. It's basically a droptop version of the Mulsanne Speed, which would seem to be a foregone conclusion for production, but apparently isn't, according to Bentley Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer.
"We are eagerly awaiting the response of our customers to this car. We will ensure that this car - if it reaches the roads - will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector's piece."
With its production possibilities out of the way, and with the image gallery you see above proving that it is, indeed, a convertible, we can move on to what makes this Grand Convertible so grand. Equipped with the same 6.75-liter engine with 530 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque as its hardtop brethren, it certainly won't be lacking for power. The Grand Convertible has been "fashioned entirely by hand from the very finest materials," says Bentley, and the tonneau is made from the largest piece of wood veneer ever applied by the automaker.