The Bentley Continental GT has been one of the most successful luxury cars ever. It completely transformed the brand when it was first launched. Do remember that before the Continental GT, Bentley was a lumbering old car company making the characterful but slightly outdated Arnage?
After being taken over by Volkswagen, the new GT was envisioned with a clean sheet of power and with an agenda to make the ultimate long distance grand tourer.
The Continental GT in its first generation has been a design classic while subsequent models have further strengthened Bentley as the most popular luxury car maker. The GT in its latest form has been a more radical change in tune with having the same platform as the Porsche Panamera while being lighter plus being more flexible. It is no longer a yacht, but is more of a speed boat now.
However, nothing prepares you for the shock which comes when you floor the throttle. Unlike super cars which you half expect to sprout rockets and orbit into space, a luxurious GT like this Bentley has no right to defy physics like this. The speed is savage and it shrinks the scenery around you with sheer aplomb.
207 m.p.h top speed
There are various power trains on offer but the one to get is of course the 6.0-litre, W12. It’s less of an engine and more of a nuclear power plant, producing 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque. The Convertible accelerates to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds), on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph). However, attempting to go flat-out with the top-down is not advised since it will alter your hairstyle in a flash!
That said the convertible roof sports some refinement additions and there is nearly zero scuttle shake. There are no structural anomalies which greet you. Driving the convertible with the top-up is akin to driving the coupe itself. Speaking of which there are a myriad of choices regarding roof colors, including Black, Blue, Claret and Grey plus for the first time a take on the “British Tweed”
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Nothing compares to the convertible experience
Bentley says that there has been a three-decibel reduction in overall noise levels when cruising when compared to its predecessor. We will not argue since its is more refined than some other cars with the standard roof.
Driving a convertible is one of those unique motoring experiences to savor as you do not have to get the car on the limit to enjoy it. A gentle cruise is perfect for the “wind in your hair” experience. In the new GT, the eight-speed automatic works like a charm and the new all-wheel drive system gives it plenty of grip in challenging weather conditions.
The handling is also a huge change when compared to the previous GT. It floats less and feels more nimble while the 48-volt roll control system adds a sports-car like experience to the GT. That’s something not seen on the earlier models.
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Wood and leather throughout
For those worrying that the new found athleticism might reduce the “proper Bentley boy’s” vibe, they can breathe a sigh of relief since the styling is even more purposeful. The wheels are pushed further to the corners while the whole car sits lower and wider. It looks stunning and is a lovely evolution of the original classic.
The interior is even a bigger triumph with a mix of analog and digital. The centre screen rotates into a 12.3-inch display but also has another screen with elegant analogue dials. Perfect for a “digital detox” as Bentley terms it.
Like any Bentley, wood and leather is also lavishly used inside the cabin along with high quality metal and polished surfaces. In fact there are over 10 square meters of wood used in every car while small details like the knurling of the switches also makes it a joy to use them. Unlike the previous GT the new one has all the usual technological upgrades. It is basically a leather-lined Apple store.
Bentley Continental GT Convertible: Endearing personality
The fully specced Speed W12 Convertible retails at around $320,000 or more while the V8 Convertible is much more accessible at $225,000 plus. More sporting than a Rolls-Royce Dawn and less intimidating than a Ferrari/McLaren spider, the GT Convertible sits alone in a unique corner at the marketplace with an alluring set of qualities plus an endearing personality. As a continent-crushing luxury convertible, Bentley has hit the bull’s eye here.