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Best of the Best 2012: Convertibles: Bentley Continental GTC

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An advocate of excess, Oscar Wilde would have made a perfect pitchman for the Bentley Continental GTC (www.bentleymotors.com), a heavy and heavily handcrafted vehicle that coddles driver and passengers and has a performance envelope that is more locomotive than automotive. Bentley’s use of only the finest leather and mirror-matched woods is well publicized, but few recognize the engineering genius demanded by the $213,000 Continental GTC. The car weighs nearly three tons yet accelerates quicker (zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds) and moves faster (195 mph) than most sports cars, thanks to 12 cylinders and two turbochargers producing 567 hp. What looks like metal on the GTC is metal and not chromed plastic. Creature comforts—from neck warmers to noise-reducing, double-pane windows—reach beyond luxurious to opulent. Company founder W.O. Bentley spoke a mantra for transforming excess into success: “Take the best and build it better.”

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