£166,615 - £235,925 Price range
17 - 25 MPG
It may not look that different from the old one, but the Bentley Continental GTC has undergone a host of improvements, from subtle styling tweaks to improvements in the engine and handling departments.
If feel-good factor is all that matters about the Bentley’s interior, then there are few better cars. The finest leather, wood and aluminium covers the cabin, with sumptuous seats and a three-layer hood that puts refinement almost on par with the coupe version.
Space in the back is a little tight, but front-seat passengers will get to enjoy incredible comfort, and a hot-air neck warmer to keep you toasty on those colder, roof-down days. A new touch-screen infotainment system is a large improvement on the old model.
With Bentley being part of the VW group, you can rest assured that all the electrical gadgetry will work exactly as it should, but everything else about this sumptuous interior has little in common with just about any Volkswagen you can mention.
The Continental GTC is built mainly for cruising, whether that’s continent-crossing at high speed, or wafting around amongst the high-society types once you reach your destination, with the roof down, enjoying the sun. Even so, it still drives well.
Testers comment that it’s more about ride and solidity than it is outright handling – at about 2.3 tonnes this is no Lotus Elise – but it’s still a fun car to drive quickly and capable enough to cope. The steering also has decent feel. Ride quality is good, and you don’t often notice the lack of stiffness as a result of the soft top.
Although the GTC does well to avoid much of the scuttle-shake that is a characteristic of many convertibles (where you feel a jiggle run through the car over bumps), serious drivers will definitely find the coupe version a more rewarding drive thanks to its inherently better rigidity.
It was Rolls Royce that used to describe their engines as “adequate”, but the same applies to this Bentley. The biggest is a W12, 6-litres in size and with 567 horsepower, you’re unlikely to find yourself in a scenario where you’re wishing for anything more.
Testers are mildly staggered by its ability to shift 2.5 tonnes of car to 60mph in 4.8 seconds, without feeling like the engine is working particularly hard. It’s incredibly flexible, very quick, hugely refined, and rather thirsty. The automatic gearbox is smooth, but reviewers are less keen on the slightly cheap-feeling points of interaction – i.e. the lever, and the gear change paddles.
A 4.0-litre V8 version came out late last year, it’s cheaper than the W12, and in coupe form this engine has received positive reviews. In fact the overwhelming view is that it’s the engine to go for.
Much like its hardtop brother, the V8 powered Continental GTC gets some pretty impressive reviews. It’s still as classy and as svelte as you’d expect from a Bentley, but the new revisions and the brand new engine help turn an already very capable car into one of the best four seater convertibles on the market.
On paper, the V8 GTC is a bit slower than the monstrous 6.0 W12 model. However, with 500bhp and 487lb/ft of torque on tap, it’s certainly no slouch – 0-60 in five seconds and a top speed of 187 mph is certainly enough for most people, and are startling figures for a car that weighs over two tonnes!
The weight, though, doesn’t spoil the fun – it’s not the sharpest car in its class to drive, but most critics reckon the dynamics are hugely impressive for such a big car. It’s also, as you’d expect, great as a long distance cruiser, and although it’s not a concern for most owners, the claimed 25 mpg figures is quite a feat for a car with such incredible statistics.
Overall, it’s a fantastic car that, with the excellent engine, is even better than before – the new V8 is so competent that it makes the W12 almost redundant! If you can afford such a car, we thoroughly recommend it.
You really wouldn’t expect to shell-out this kind of money and get a car that wasn’t safe, and the good news here is that the Bentley is a very safe place to be indeed.
By the very nature of its size, the Continental cossets you and makes you feel safe. But integral aspects of its makeup such as the four-wheel drive system help to keep you on the straight and narrow right from the off.
Add-in a whole array of sophisticated electronic safety features and more mundane equipment such as twin front, side and curtain airbags, and active anti-whiplash front head restraints, and you have a very safe package for both driver and passengers.
£140,000 of car isn’t cheap, but it’s quite competitive with rivals, and most reviews do comment that although there are similar cars about for similar money, none quite have a package as complete as the Bentley – and that includes rivals from Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz.
We get the impression most would choose it over the hard-topped Continental GT too, despite the extra outlay. Running costs will be high and depreciation steep, but it’s the same for rivals.
Let’s be honest here, when you are shopping for a car in this class, value for money is unlikely to be a major factor in your buying decision.
BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GTC SPEED
Bentley offers the Continental GTC Speed for buyers after the ultimate convertible grand tourer experience. A 633hp W12 engine provides enough power to reach 62mph from a standstill in just 4.1 seconds and on to a 206mph top speed. Contrasting trim pieces and vibrant stitching along with 21-inch black alloy wheels and a carbon fibre fascia are all options available on the more exclusive ‘Black Edition’ model.
One thing that most reviews seem to agree on is that the GTC is a very special car, and makes you feel equally special when driving it. It may not be the outright quickest, nor the best handler, but its range of talents is very broad and it’s unlike any other car to drive.
While the coupe version will deliver a more rewarding drive, there really is nothing like driving a car of this stature and quality on a nice day with the top down. We may have a somewhat irrational love of convertibles here in the UK, but perhaps cars as good as the Bentley GTC are partly responsible.
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