Bentley Continental GT Convertible review
The Bentley Continental GT Convertible is an imposing droptop that’s beautifully made and wonderful to drive. But space in the back is so tight that the rear seats aren’t comfortable.
What's not so good
Bentley Continental GT Convertible: what would you like to read next?
The Bentley Continental GT Convertible is a four-seat, uber-luxurious convertible car that you’re likely to see vying for attention alongside the likes of a Mercedes S-Class Convertible or a Rolls-Royce Dawn cruising along the Cote d’Azur or around Bel Air.
But out of these three, the Bentley has unique bragging rights – it’s the fastest four-seat convertible car. Yes, the Bentley GTC is the world’s quickest and most expensive hairdryer.
But what a cool-looking hairdryer… The imposing grille and huge badge let everyone know you’re behind the wheel of a Bentley. There’s a strong crease along the side of the car that blends into the rear’s wide haunches. The V8 version comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, the W12 gets 21-inchers and you can upgrade to 22-inch wheels if desired. Need more bragging rights? Those brakes are the largest fitted to a production car.
At the rear, there are more LED matrix lights but the star of the show is that fabric folding roof. It comes in a range of colours – including a Tweed effect – and it can go from open to closed in 19 seconds, at up to speeds of 30mph.
The interior is just fabulous. Hand-stitched leather, exquisite real wood trim, knurled metal knobs… everything you see and touch oozes quality. Only Rolls-Royce is on the same level. But you don’t have to go for a Gentlemen’s club vibe – opt for the carbon fibre trim and the GTC interior can look sporty and modern instead.
The infotainment system is OK – it’s similar to the one you get in the Porsche Panamera – but it’s not the easiest to use. And like the Porsche you can’t get the system with Android Auto, just Apple CarPlay. Still, the optional rotating infotainment screen is very cool. It rotates from the screen to analogue dials to a wood panel. Lovely.
Also lovely is the digital driver’s display. It looks like the one you get in the latest Audi cars – Bentley, Porsche and Audi are all owned by the same parent company and so share many technologies. The display is easy to configure and looks great.
That bit about the fastest four-seater convertible might not sound so appealing when you are actually sitting in the back seats. Like the front, it’s beautifully made, but it’s really quite cramped. The boot is small too as the roof takes up space when it’s folded away. So those golf clubs may have to go on the rear seats. Still, if you want a practical car, buy a Skoda estate.
Buying a Bentley? Go hard or go home. Ignore the V8 and go straight to the W12 version to avoid any 'if only' regrets later on.
If anything isn’t quite to your taste, however, you can personalise your GT Convertible in any number of ways and Bentley will happily take your cash for extras, such as the £6000 Naim sound system, or the Touring Specification, where you get a heads-up display, adaptive cruise control and night vision. That’s six grand too.
Unlike all the options and upgrades, engine choice is easy. There’s a 550hp V8 or the 635hp W12. Our advice? If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly bear and get the W12. Sure the V8 is a bit lighter and maybe a bit more nimble, but the W12 is just more impressive, which is what you want in a Bentley, surely?
There’s a host of driving tech that makes the Bentley GT Convertible brilliant to drive. It comes with intelligent four-wheel drive that can send 38% of its power to the front wheels to help you scrabble you out of a corner, or 83% of the power to the rear wheels to make it feel more sporty.
The W12 gets active roll bars which keep the car flat as you go round the corners – making it feel great fun on a twisty road – but disengages on the straights to keep the ride smooth. You can get it as an option on the V8. All told, despite its size, the Bentley is more fun to drive than its Mercedes or Rolls-Royce drop-top competition.
It gives them a run for their money in the comfort stakes, too. Its standard adaptive dampers continuously adjust to make sure you get the most comfortable drive when you are cruising, while the air suspension can raise the car up, which smooths things out when you’re going over speed bumps around town.
If there’s a downside to having the convertible over the coupe is that tyre noise is just a bit more apparent. And the view out the back isn’t great when the roof is up.
But that’s it, really. If you want one, buy one. And get the W12. Spec yours up by checking the Bentley GT Convertible deals.