Shuffles its extravagance and wearing qualifications quite well. Not exactly just as the equal car, without a doubt, yet massively satisfying to drive
The Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible: a vehicle so large, substantial and garishly delegated that you truly shouldn't have the option to simply 'flick' it around a 90deg curve so without any problem. Anybody searching for direct verification of the world-class designing capacities of the advanced vehicle industry could utilize this as a fine case of how viably desires would now be able to be detonated via vehicles like this, without a doubt even among those with the way to manage the cost of life's better things.
Approach the twist, maybe, with a lively pace, trailing the brakes a bit, and bumping the transmission down into second apparatus as you close in. Presently simply turn your head, look into the way to the corner's exit, and easily roll your wrists. Some 2.3 huge amounts of aluminum, steel, calfskin, wood, copper, fiber optics and silicon - so shrewdly dealt with nowadays by versatile air suspension, dynamic enemy of move bars, torque-vectored four-wheel drive and enough figuring capacity to run a cool war submarine - at that point decreases to lean, falter or oppose much by any stretch of the imagination, yet rather turns so energetically that maybe the world itself were rotating directly underneath your rear. For what reason haven't the cows in that field simply fallen over, you'll wonder. More likely than not been the vehicle all things considered.
Truly, regardless of whether open-or shut cockpit, V8-or W12-engined, the most recent Continental GT is a vehicle able to do strikingly lithe dealing with. In the event that you do like a brandishing terrific tourer, in any case, that impeccably coiffed Bentley sales rep truly should suggest the V8. In addition to the fact that it is lighter than the W12, but at the same time it's tuned for marginally quicker taking care of and an additionally mixing exhaust note.
It's for quite some time been Autocar's favored Continental, as well. It's still adequately blessed by the gods to hit 60mph from rest in four seconds level, even in the convertible-bodied structure in which we've quite recently tried it in the UK.
The actuation of the car’s dual-clutch transmission still seems just a little bit laboured at times; not between gearchanges so much as when manoeuvring, and juggling drive and reverse. The rest of the time, however, the powertrain is highly convincing. It has all the accessible grunt and outright performance that a luxury tourer needs, and much of the responsiveness, audible charm and willingness to rev that Bentley’s W12 lacks.
As regards handling, if you opt for a car with ‘Bentley Dynamic Ride’ active anti-roll bars (as our test car had) you’ll find there’s quite a marked difference in cornering potential as you move from Comfort to Sport mode. The latter keeps at least 80% of torque at the rear axle all the time and also really sets the suspension to work. Steering ranges from light to medium light, and it filters out many more of the forces acting on the front wheels than it communicates to your palms, as you’d expect it to. Even so, this is a heavyweight luxury GT that, assuming you keep within the car’s considerable limits of grip, somehow changes direction with the freedom and balance of a compact sports saloon. You’re never clear exactly how and where the car’s finding the reserves to manipulate itself around a tight bend, and you feel as much like a witness to what’s going on as an agent of it, true. Still, it’s quite something to witness.
And what of refinement? Well, sure enough, Sport mode does stress the car’s chassis to the point where it admits the odd very gentle shake and shudder over uneven surfaces. ‘Bentley’ mode offers what’s probably the best compromise of body control, handling agility and ride compliance.
Even Comfort mode can’t quite give the cabrio the same sense of hewn-from-solid structural integrity and ride comfort that you’ll find in the equivalent coupé, though. And while the car’s roof does a good job of keeping wind noise down at speed for a cloth hood, it may not be capable of quite the isolation you’d want in a six-figure luxury GT.
Depends on the particular vision for luxury grand touring you’ve got in mind.
If, to you, special occasion motoring means getting out among the elements and awakening the senses, having the roof down so often will likely prevent you from noticing what separates the modern Continental GT Convertible from the Coupé anyway. This would be a sublime vehicle in which to get lost on a summer day; it's considerably more usable than some drop-top exotics; and the fact that it can handle as well as the equivalent coupé is a tribute to the engineering behind it.
But if your vision of automotive luxury, like mine, would always include the elegant roofline of a fixed-head coupé rather than the relatively messy profile of a cabrio, as well as the superior bubble of glorious on-board isolation that a coupé might afford, well, you’ll instinctively know where to put your money.
If you've got your heart set on a luxury convertible, of course, being advised to buy a coupé instead may be about as helpful today as it ever wasn't. The simple truth is there are very few richer or more opulent luxury convertibles than this for any outlay.
Even at this rarefied level, though, and even in 2020, it seems the luxury, open-top motoring experience still doesn’t come entirely without compromises. The better you know them before you commit, I guess, the happier you're ultimately likely to be.
Bentley Continental GT Convertible V8 specification
Where Rugby, Warwickshire Price £167,000 On sale Now Engine V8, 3996cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol Power 542bhp at 5750rpm Torque 568lb ft at 1960-4500rpm Gearbox 8-spd dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 2335kg Top speed 198mph 0-62mph 4.1sec Fuel economy 23.3mpg (WLTP combined) CO2 260g/km (WLTP combined) Rivals Aston Martin DB11 Volante, Ferrari Portofino