We take the new Bentley Continental GT Convertible for a spin to see how it compares to the impressive coupeVerdict4.5The Bentley Continental GT Convertible loses little of what makes the coupe such a fabulous grand tourer. In fact, it arguably betters its fixed-roof sibling in terms of style and elegance, while retaining a huge amount of the hard-top’s performance due to that special W12 engine. It’s heavy, thirsty and not immune from scuttle shake, but for those in the market, there are few cars that do the job better.
Nineteen seconds: that’s all it takes to turn Bentley’s latest drop-top from refined, unruffled coupe into sun-kissed grand-touring cabriolet. Okay, the new Continental GT Convertible isn’t a coupe – the name kind of gives it away – but with the roof up, the firm claims it’s as quiet as the previous- generation fixed-roof Continental GT.
Drive any distance with the thick fabric roof over your head and you can fully believe it, but for the full experience, you should wait those 19 seconds; few soft-tops are as serene and commotion-free with the hood stowed.
• Best luxury cars on sale
Bentley is proud of more than just the folding canvas. The structure is five per cent stiffer than before – a useful attribute to help alleviate typical convertible shakes – and the basic body is 20 per cent lighter, in part thanks to aluminium exterior panels. Yet the new Convertible is still sizeable: this is a 2,414kg car at the kerbside.
Image 2 of 22
Image 2 of 22
Inside, you’re presented with almost endless personalisation choices, but otherwise it’s the same interior that wowed us in the coupe. Build quality is outstanding and you’ll struggle to find any surface that hasn’t been expensively trimmed in leather, wood, or some variety of machined, knurled or polished metal.
The rotating centre display remains a neat touch, allowing you to peruse three dials should you tire of modern infotainment, while the multitude of buttons (only a handful of which seem to be sourced from the VW Group parts bin) is perhaps a nod to Bentley’s more traditional owners.
The seats and wheel adjust in a variety of ways, so almost any motorist should find the ideal driving position. You’ll try much harder to find a seat setting that would comfortably allow adults in the back seats; they’re sized more appropriately for children, and only if you’re happy to go without the wind deflector. The 235-litre boot isn’t vast, but the bijou rear seats at least offer somewhere extra to store luggage.
One thing unchanged from coupe to convertible is the 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 below the Conti’s bonnet. Power and torque remain at 626bhp and 900Nm respectively, and the latter’s plateau carries on between 1,350 and 4,500rpm.
This doesn’t just result in faintly ridiculous straight-line pace, but also the kind of easy-going urge at only 10 or 20 per cent of the car’s potential that sees you comfortably out-pacing other traffic.
Most of the time you won’t really notice the car’s enormous bulk, so easily does it devour straights, braking zones and corners. Gearchanges from the dual-clutch transmission are smooth and swift at any speed, and the large brakes work tirelessly to haul you down for each corner, even if they need a firm squeeze to do so. Given the huge contact patch on the road and the air suspension’s clever active anti-roll set-up, you don’t need to use the brakes as often as you expect, but take liberties and the front end will eventually push wide.
Image 7 of 22
Image 7 of 22
Precise, well-weighted steering helps here, never overloading you with information, but always responding consistently to inputs. It’s light when it needs to be and weights up progressively as you corner harder, without ever becoming an upper-arm workout. It’s a perfect match for the Conti’s unruffled demeanour – few cars of this size or weight make such light work of challenging roads.
The ride quality could be better on really bumpy surfaces, surely a symptom of the 21 and 22-inch wheel options, and on rippled roads you’ll occasionally notice a wobble through the structure. It’s a minor niggle, though, and out on the motorway, the car’s natural habitat, your only real concerns will be where next to stop for fuel, and whether to travel with the roof up or down.
- Model: Bentley Continental GT Convertible
- Price: £175,100
- Engine: 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12
- Power/torque: 626bhp/900Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
- 0-60mph: 3.8 seconds
- Top speed: 207mph
- Economy/CO2: 22.8mpg/284g/km
- On sale: Now
Rate your car in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey