Driven: Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible Review
Following a one week test drive of the Bentley Continental GT V8 convertible, here is my review of this remarkable car.
What’s the Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible all about?
The Bentley Continental GT is Bentley’s flagship car. It is an all out proper GT car with huge amounts of power and endless levels of luxury. The convertible is a modified version of the coupe with a soft top roof that electrically folds down to the rear of the boot, converting into a truly beautiful soft top GT car.
Being the Bentley Continental GT V8, obviously there is a V8 engine under the bonnet. It is a 4.0-litre twin turbocharged, V8 petrol engine, which puts out 500bhp and 660Nm of torque. All this power runs through an eight speed ZF gearbox and then goes to all four wheels for ultimate traction. All this means the V8 GT will get from 0 to 60mph in 4.7 seconds and will do a top speed of 187mph.
How does it drive?
The experience of the Bentley Continental GT V8 convertible is fantastic. I would challenge anyone to find a flaw with the performance of the car, let alone how rewarding it is in the driving seat.
From the moment you set eyes on the GT, you know it’s a place of luxury, and from behind the wheel everything feels really well engineered, very solid, and very reassuring that you’re in a safe place. When you’re moving in a car at this end of the wealth scale your expectations are set exceptionally high, but as expected the raw power released from that V8 engine is incredible and not to mention the huge amount of torque. It shouldn’t be possible to be surrounded in such luxury and also be able to accelerate in such a way, although I for one am glad it is! In the corners the Bentley doesn’t really give you anything to worry about, the traction control systems enable you to literally turn the wheel and feel the grip all the way through the corner without any sudden slips or over steer, and even more surprisingly; you’re aware the systems are working, but you don’t feel nannied by them.
The car on test came with the £10,405 carbon ceramic brake option. I’m a big fan of ceramic brakes and the Bentley’s ceramics are very well implemented, the pedal feel is hard and consistent all the way through its travel and most importantly the stopping power is really phenomenal. It’s shocking how it’s actually possible to stop a car of this size and weight from serious speed down to a dead stop in such a short period of time. You can literally lift yourself out of the seat purely with that brake power. The only thing more impressive than the brakes is when the Pirelli PZero tyres work their magic between the wheel and the road, poor guys. In most cases all ceramic brakes are prone to squealing and unfortunately the Bentley Continental GT did show signs of brake squeal, but I would still rather have the ceramics over the steal brakes any day.
Overall the performance of the Bentley GT V8 is colossal. It’s incredible that all that power can be put together in one well-dressed package. And it’s also slightly more impressive that you don’t have to be a racing driver to drive this car quickly, it’s an easy and rewarding car to drive. The GT has these characteristics because of its clever engineering, and innovations in technology. The electronics behind the braking system, torque vectoring systems, and the adaptive throttle response mappings all work very cleverly as a unit making us humans better drivers than we actually are.
There was not a single time during my week with GT that I questioned the performance, motions, or reactions of the GT; it is very near perfect.
What’s it like inside?
The Bentley has one of the best interior designs of any car ever made. Dropping down the roof and taking a look inside the model on test you are overwhelmed with cream leather across the seats and door cards. The best thing about the leather is the diamond quilted stitching which covers almost every inch of it. This gives a really premium look and feel to the interior of the car.
Once you’re inside you will notice the nice dashboard which has the £4,040 carbon fibre option, giving the car a much more modern and sportier feel. Everything that you look at, or touch, in the car has had extreme levels of design work behind it, and the perfect material individually selected and then carefully installed into the car.
There are lots of options that make the car slightly more interesting and appealing than standard top end sports cars. These include things such as a £5,475 Naim sound system, £1,860 sports exhaust system, £460 carbon fibre removable storage case that clips over the cup holder, and £1,425 of custom stitching on the car’s interior. Wow!
The experience of driving the Bentley Continental GT V8 convertible is fantastic and it is certainly one to be remembered, if the car catches you in the right mood, with the right weather, as it caught me, you will question if it is worth looking elsewhere for the perfect GT.
Driving this car with the roof off and that perfect sports exhaust with the V8 engine howling behind you has got to be one of my favourite driving moments. The GTC provides you with extreme levels of comfort, extreme levels of performance, and extreme levels of freedom. How this converts to make you feel as a driver is both thrilled, and also very relaxed at the same time which is quite a surreal experience.
The Bentley Continental GT V8 convertible is, for many reasons, the car that many people wish to own one day. Two key reasons for me are, because of the brand status and how people want to be perceived by others, and the other is to experience how British innovations and engineering have a created a very individually focused driver’s car.
- Price: £195,270
- Engine: 4.0-Litre Turbocharged V8
- Power: 500bhp
- Torque: 660Nm
- Transmission: 8 Speeds Automatic ZF
- 0-62mph: 4.7 Seconds
- Top speed: 187mph
- Weight: 2,470kg
- Economy combined: 25mpg
- CO2: 254g/km
Author: Paul Hadley