Effortlessly quick and luxurious GT is now open for business
A big part of Bentley’s Continental GT mantra is that this beautifully made and prestigious model is durable enough and practical enough for an owner to use every day. On the other hand, Bentley’s marketeers often tell us, typical owners have half a dozen other cars at home to draw on, a collection likely to include something small for short-haul trips and easy parking. Not the Bentley.
So which characteristics should we concentrate on in an evaluation of the new £175,890 Convertible? We’ve always known the coupé was fast, quiet and long-legged. So I think what matters here is stuff like body rigidity, wind noise, hood actuation, ride quality and, even above the coupé, a pervading sense of well-being.
Which is why we tested this car in late-winter Spanish weather just perfect for some early-season’s top-downery. The hood lowers (and raises) quietly in just 19sec and you can do it while you’re rolling at up to 30mph. When it’s erect, you might as well be in a coupé, such is the quietness. Indeed, this latest rag-top is as quiet as last year’s coupé.
The convertible facility – along with a discreetly softer but multi-adjustable air suspension – makes this first and foremost a classic low-speed sunny-day cruiser, but the car also copes superbly with high-speed, open-road cruising because the cockpit is so well protected. Drive properly fast and there’s a bare minimum of buffeting, and the W12 engine’s smooth bark curls nicely up to your ears over the bootlid. Press on over bumps and you’ll be impressed by the damping and bump absorption. You won’t feel body tremors or scuttle shake because there aren’t any. And the active roll control brilliantly smooths corner entry and abrupt transitions in S-bends, belying the 2.4-tonne mass.
There’s a small performance difference compared with the coupé (0.2sec added to the 0-62mph time) but it’s very unlikely you’ll perceive it because the performance of either 5950cc, 626bhp W12-powered model is huge and entirely effortless.
The Conti rag-top is probably a bit more of a good-times vehicle than the coupé, simply because it’s a shade more eye-catching and likely to be seen as marginally more glamorous. It’s also £15,000 more expensive, and its boot is somewhat smaller. But the bottom line is it’ll do anything its sibling can, and every bit as well.
Engine W12, 5950cc, twin-turbo, petrol
Power 626bhp at 6000rpm
Torque 664lb ft at 1350–4500rpm
Gearbox 8-spd dual-clutch automatic
Kerb weight 2414kg
Top speed 207mph
Economy 22.8mpg (combined)
CO2, tax band 284g/km, 37%
Rivals Aston Martin DB11 Volante, Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet