impressive Continental GT with Mulliner Specification with Painted Directional Sports Wheel with great features including Rear view camera, Neck warmer
Petrol 25.9 combined MPG
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Best part-ex price paid
Ready to test drive
Superb low mileage Mulliner Specification great optional extras
CO2: 254 g/km
Emissions and Fuel
* Price does not include road fund license
Acoustic glazing with infra red reflective, Electric front windows, Heated rear windscreen, Rain sensor windscreen wipers
Anti-lock brakes, Brake assist, Electronic parking brake, Electronic Stability Programme, Emergency brake force distribution, HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist), Traction control
Anti roll bar front and rear
Bluetooth telephone connectivity, Telephone voice dialling
Continuous damping control, Front/rear park distance control, Servotronic speed sensitive power steering
Power boot opening and closing, Power latching to all doors for easy entry
Breitling clock, Infotainment system/satellite navigation, Service indicator, Trip computer
Elec/heat/adj/fold door mirror+memory
Embroidered Bentley emblem in seatface
30gb Hardrive media storage, DVD System, External media interface, iPod connection, Radio/CD, Satellite Radio, Steering wheel mounted controls
Exterior Body Features
Aluminium bonnet, Bentley 'jewel' fuel filler cap, Body coloured bumpers, Chrome grille, Rear diffuser
Bi-Xenon headlights and headlight washers, Daytime running lights
Multi-zone climate control
Diamond quilted hide to seat facings and doors and rear quarter panels, Drilled alloy accelerator and brake pedals, Easy entry/electrically adj steering column+memory, Full hide trim, Illuminated centre console storage, Rear armrest, Steering column mounted gear shift paddles
Door puddle lights, Footwell illumination, Interior light, Rear courtesy lights
Door open warning light, Driver/front passenger airbag, Drivers knee airbag, Front and rear thorax airbag system, Front passenger airbag deactivation, Seatbelt warning, Side airbags, Tyre pressure monitoring system
Seat Piping/Additional Trimming
Embroidered emblems to all head restraints
14 way Elec adj front seats/memory/lumbar control, Front head restraints, Heated front seats, Isofix attachments on rear seats, Rear head restraints, Seatbelts-colour to match hide, Vertical fluted seat style
Alarm/immobiliser, Anti-theft wheel bolts, Auto door lock when driving, Keyless entry, Keyless ignition, Ultrasonic alarm
|Badge Engine CC:||4.0|
|Based On ID:||N|
|Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07:||N|
|Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years:||N|
|Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years:||N|
|NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %:||N|
|NCAP Child Occupant Protection %:||N|
|NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09:||N|
|NCAP Pedestrian Protection %:||N|
|NCAP Safety Assist %:||N|
|Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage:||999999|
|Standard manufacturers warranty - Years:||3|
|Vehicle Homologation Class:||M1|
|Standard Euro Emissions:||EURO 6|
|Cylinders - Bore (mm):||84.5|
|Cylinders - Stroke (mm):||89|
|Engine Layout:||NORTH SOUTH|
|Fuel Delivery:||TWIN TURBO|
|Number of Valves:||32|
|EC Combined (mpg):||25.9|
|EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies:||True|
|EC Extra Urban (mpg):||35.3|
|EC Urban (mpg):||17.9|
|0 to 60 mph (secs):||True|
|0 to 62 mph (secs):||4.5|
|Engine Power - BHP:||521|
|Engine Power - KW:||389|
|Engine Power - PS:||True|
|Engine Power - RPM:||6000|
|Engine Torque - LBS.FT:||502|
|Engine Torque - MKG:||69|
|Engine Torque - NM:||680|
|Engine Torque - RPM:||1700|
|Tyre Size Front:||275/35 R21|
|Tyre Size Rear:||275/35 R21|
|Tyre Size Spare:||TYRE REPAIR KIT|
|Wheel Style:||7 SPOKE|
|Wheel Type:||21" ALLOY|
|Height (including roof rails):||N|
|Width (including mirrors):||2227|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres):||90|
|Gross Vehicle Weight:||2900|
|Luggage Capacity (Seats Down):||N|
|Luggage Capacity (Seats Up):||260|
|Max. Loading Weight:||430|
|Max. Roof Load:||N|
|Max. Towing Weight - Braked:||N|
|Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked:||N|
|No. of Seats:||4|
|Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb:||11.3|
Arguably the world's most luxurious soft top can feature a relatively efficient Audi-sourced 500bhp V8. Jonathan Crouch feels the quality - and the width - of Bentley's Continental GT Convertible in eight cylinder form.
Looking for the ultimate convertible car? The Bentley Continental GT Convertible can't be too far from it. Whether you go for the long-established 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 or the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine we look at here, it possesses a blend of trans-continental pace and luxurious comfort that very few other vehicles can match. If ever there was an open demonstration of money as a passport to power, then this is it.
You might not believe it to read the papers but the rich are getting richer. Forbes magazine reckons that today, there are over six times the number of dollar billionaires there were twenty years ago, the lot of them worth a combined total nudging $3 trillion. Presumably, the UK has its share of them too for supercar sales don't seem to have been hit too badly by the recession. Cars like this one, Bentley's Continental GT Convertible, are still parked nose to tail in Knightsbridge, just as they are down LA's Rodeo Drive. So with all that available cash looking for a home, it doesn't do for potential recipients to rest on their laurels. Which is why even exalted manufacturers like this one are keen to keep their most successful models at the top of their game. It's also why Bentley's Continental GT Convertible has been significantly improved in recent times to bolster its appeal. Today's sharper, more muscular looks carry through to the driving experience but the bottom line remains much the same. The GT Convertible remains one of the world's most beautifully engineered luxury convertibles.
Twist the plump key and the 4.0-litre V8 (borrowed from Audi's S8 super-saloon) burbles into life, an orchestral prelude to the wonderful feeling that you get from burying your right foot into the carpet and hurling what is essentially Claridges on wheels towards sixty as fast as a Lamborghini Gallardo in around 5.0s. There's a choice of the standard 507bhp V8 or a 528bhp V8S. Owners with access to an airfield or who happen to have a particularly extravagant driveway on the front of their stately home will watch as 100mph flashes by just over six seconds later. That's very little different to the performance you could expect from the 567bhp W12-engined GT Convertible model and, unlike the older 6-speed auto transmission fitted to that car, you get a more modern 8-speed auto 'box with which to control it. Drive, as with all Continental models, is directed to all four wheels - now with a 40/60 front-to-rear torque-split rather than the previous 50/50 to reduce understeer - where an advanced traction control system is set to work in deploying it. Usefully lighter than its predecessor (especially with the V8 in situ), the second generation GTC also plants a larger footprint on the road thanks to a 40mm wider track. Retuned steering and recalibrated suspension settings also contribute to the GT Convertible's 'sportier' remit. And it really is surprising just how quickly you can hurl this car around twisting country lanes should the need to do so arise. The notably stiff body structure prevents the kind of open-top body wobbling you feel in cheaper convertibles over bumps and, true enough, this car feels as solid and planted at all times as the coupe model on which it's based. And the reduced weight the V8 imposes on the front axle and tyres makes a difference, too, improving turn-in and making the smaller-engined car feel a little more nimble than its W12-engined sibling. Roof-down, there's neck-level heating for chilly days and very little buffeting, even if you don't use the standard wind deflector, and what there is only becomes noticeable when you're seated in the back at speeds well over the legal limit.
It's remarkable how subtle changes can make a big difference. At first glance, the current GT Convertible seems little altered from earlier versions. But take a longer look and it's clearly a more handsome piece of work, the sharply creased one-piece aluminium panels, more upright grille and jewel-like LED headlights creating a cleaner, more dynamic appearance. The V8 GT Convertible gets a slightly more upright black grille, red badges, a more aggressive lower front bumper design and figure-of-eight-shaped exhaust pipes, separated by a black valance. The beautiful Karmann-made fabric hood doesn't boast the quickest folding mechanism around, at 25 seconds from roof up to roof down, but you can operate it at speeds of up to 20mph and its cantilevered operation is seamless, with not one mechanical part visible as it goes through its contortions. With seven bows to preserve stiffness, the hood features a triple-lined fabric construction to ensure the best acoustic and thermal insulation properties and now offers coupe-equaling refinement thanks to the addition of acoustic glass and under-body panels, for optimum noise isolation. The cabin has come in for some attention, too, in line with the reworked coupe's. Most obvious, from the driver's seat, is the all-new larger touch-screen infotainment system which is much easier to use than the previous item, though it still sits a little incongruously in a dash, The V8 can be identified by its unique colour and trim options and a shorter centre console with more of a bench-like rear seat than the range-topping W12 models.
The V8 GT Convertible costs around 10 per cent less than the W12, creating a £155,000-£165,000 price bracket for V8 Continental convertible models. You'd expect the standard specification to be exhaustive, and it is. The driving position adjustment is completely electrically operated with memory functions for adjusting the seats, steering column and exterior mirrors to your pre-arranged requirements. There's a comprehensive, big screen infotainment system including DVD satellite navigation, a TV tuner, a 6 CD stereo and adjustment of the suspension settings. The telephone system has voice dialling and can link to almost all Bluetooth enabled mobiles, there's keyless entry, electronic climate control and a roll-over protection system that deploys protective steel hoops from behind the headrests should the unthinkable happen. From there of course, the monied classes can spend a further fortune on the options list on items such as astonishingly powerful premium audio system by British high-end specialist Naim, which has to be heard to be believed.
It may not surprise you to learn that running a six-litre W12 Bentley convertible that tips the scales at 2,495kg isn't a low cost exercise. The 12-cylinder GTC pumps out 384g/km of CO2 and is supposed to return 17.1mpg on the combined cycle, though I think you'd be lucky to get that. On a slightly brighter eco note, the engine will run on E85 biofuel alone or a combination of biofuel and petrol. The outlook for V8 GT Convertible owners is somewhat rosier with a combined consumption of 25.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 254g/km. Significant as these savings are, it seems that concerns about fuel costs and taxation that are increasingly prevalent elsewhere in the market have yet to penetrate the motoring stratosphere where cars like the GT Convertible preside. When you look at what cars of this calibre cost to buy, it's little wonder that road tax bands and fuel consumption barely register. Even the little matter of depreciation (expect 58% of purchase price back after 3 years or 36,000 miles) is unlikely to be a major concern.
Better looking, roomier and even quicker than before, the Continental GT Convertible is a wonderful achievement. It isn't too taxing to create a supercar capable of lapping racetracks at outlandish speeds but to create something that can do almost the same while cosseting you in an atmosphere akin to an exclusive gentleman's club is a rare feat indeed - and if you think the V8-engined car diminishes that experience, you'd be wrong. Truth be told, it's a sweeter steer and the more desirable package overall. Owning one of these is like having your own private jet - in fact, it's better than that because it's so much more usable and roof-down, you can enjoy the journey so much more. It's a convertible in the best tradition, a true convertible, a Bentley convertible.
Bentley's Continental GT Convertible is one of the world's most desirable luxury convertibles - and has been much improved. Jonathan Crouch drives it
The Bentley Continental GT Convertible offers a seductive combination of power, style and craftsmanship. This iconic brand has been making iconic open tourers for over ninety years, some built to achieve success at Le Mans and Brooklands, others to convey their glamorous owners to the resorts of Monte Carlo and Cannes. All have been memorable but in truth, none has been truly sporting in the supercar sense. Until now perhaps. With a choice of 4.0-litre V8 or 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engines, this model possesses a blend of trans-continental pace, dynamic drive and luxurious comfort that very few other vehicles can match.
Has the market ever been offered a proper four-seat luxury convertible supercar? I'd argue not. Yes, there are supercar drop-tops with cramped rear seats good for little but designer shopping bags. And, at the other extreme, huge leather-lined four-seater cabrios with lumbering luxury powerplants. But nothing that really combines that Ferrari feeling with space enough to share it en famille. In its original form launched in 2006, this car, the Bentley Continental GT Convertible, arguably got the closest to achieving this, but at heart, it was still more a Grand Tourer than a great sportscar - in first generation form at least. Here though, we're going to look at the current model, an open-topped Bentley that, we're told, now has the drive to delight Ferrari folk, yet manages to combine that with the space and rare refinement of an open-topped Rolls Royce. In prospect then, a very special car indeed. Let's try it.
From rest, the experience is much as it's always been, with the familiar sights, smells and sensations as you ease yourself behind the wheel, casting an admiring glance at the handcrafted leather and veneered wood before pushing the exquisitely chromed starter button. Somewhere in front of you, the huge engine bursts into life with a roar that it's worth taking an extra 25 seconds to experience first hand - this the amount of time it'll take to lower the three-layer fabric roof. If the GT Convertible in question is powered by this 500bhp 4.0-litre V8, then there's a purposeful bark to the note, a straining at the leash to be away, unfolding the horizon towards you. There's also a 521bhp V8S variant with uprated suspension that makes it more of a driver's car. If, on the other hand, power is being delivered by the 567bhp W12 cylinder unit, the engine note is deeper, baser, more relaxed. There's also a 626bhp GT Speed W12 variant at ther top of the range. Whichever engine you choose, you're left in little doubt that the drive you're about to make has the potential to be a very rapid one indeed. Owners with access to an airfield or who happen to have a particularly extravagant driveway on the front of their stately home will marvel even in the base V8 model as sixty flashes by in five seconds before being able to see 187mph figure register on the speedometer if they're brave enough. Go for twelve cylinders and in the standard variant, there's a fractional improvement to 4.5s and 195mph, figures you can further embellish by opting for the pokier 626bhp version of the 6.0-litre unit that's been fitted to the top 200mph GT Speed variant.
Where the very first Continental GT Convertible was elegant and understated, this current version aims to be more modern and contemporary, re-interpreting a family heritage that goes all the way back to Bentley's 1950s R-Type Continental. Hence the more confident look with its wider track, its extra length and its higher waistline. More justification for this model's exalted price tag is found in the beautiful Karmann-made fabric hood which, together with chassis alterations, adds 175kgs to the standard coupe model's already considerable weight. Although it's not the quickest folding mechanism around at 25 seconds from roof up to roof down, you can operate it at speeds of up to 20mph and its cantilevered operation is seamless, with not one mechanical part visible as it goes through its contortions. With seven bows to preserve stiffness, the hood features a triple-lined fabric construction to ensure the best acoustic and thermal insulation properties. The outer layer is thicker than that of any convertible, while the middle insulating layer is also a good deal thicker than the entire roof sections of most drop-tops. The inner layer meanwhile, is made from high quality cloth so impressive that inside, you'd think you were in the fixed-top coupe version of this car. Even an interior light is built into the headlining. Of course, that roof has to go somewhere when not in use and sure enough, bootspace is reduced to 260-litres, down from the 358-litres you could expect from the coupe model.
List prices suggest that, depending on the variant you choose, you'll probably be paying somewhere from just under £140,000 to just over £165,000 once you've allowed for a few well chosen extras. That equates to a premium of around £13,000 over the fixed-top coupe bodystyle. There's also a £13,000 premium to find if you want to progress from the 500bhp V8 to the 567bhp W12 variant, with a further £16,000 to find on top of that if you want the marginal extra performance of the flagship Speed model. Whether you choose the 500bhp 4.0-litre V8, the 567bhp 6.0-litre W12 or the 616bhp W12 Speed, you'll find most of the expected features appropriate to such an expensive car. In second generation guise, these include a re-designed colour touchscreen 30GB infotainment system with an SD card reader, able to store up to 15GB of music you'll be listening to on nothing worse than an 8-speaker, 8 channel set-up. Built in is satellite navigation with dynamic route guidance, seven-digit postcode entry and Google map compatibility. Safety has been as carefully considered as you would expect, with twin front, side and curtain airbags, plus a driver's kneebag, active anti-whiplash head restraints and the usual electronic aids for braking, traction and stability control.
Bentley customers who express an interest in efficiency will be proudly pointed towards the base V8 variant, a car that improves the W12 model's thirsty 19mpg combined cycle showing by around 40% to a more manageable 25.9mpg, enough to improve the average operating range from around 330 to just over 500 miles. As for the CO2 figure, that drops from a faintly embarrassing 347g/km to a more sensible, if hardly saintly, 254g/km. The V8's parsimony comes courtesy of the fact that for large parts of the time you'll be driving it, it won't be a V8 at all but a V4, thanks to a clever system that can seamlessly and automatically deactivate four of the cylinders when they're not needed. Other reasons for the V8 model's greater efficiency include a (surprisingly slim) 25kg weight advantage over the W12 and a more efficient 8-speed automatic gearbox in place of the pokier model's older 6-speeder. But not, as you would perhaps expect, an engine start-stop system: Bentley's engineers reckon the fuel savings from adopting this would be marginal - which seems to fly in the face of worldwide engineering opinion and automotive fact. If you really want to complete your eco-credentials at the wheel of this car (why?), you'll want to run your Continental on fearsomely expensive E85 bio-ethanol fuel - if you can find a garage selling any.
This Continental GT Convertible remains a wonderful achievement. It isn't too taxing to create a supercar capable of lapping racetracks at outlandish speeds but to create something that can do almost the same while cosseting you in an atmosphere akin to an exclusive gentleman's club is a rare feat indeed. Owning one of these is like having your own private jet - in fact, it's better than that because it's so much more usable and roof-down, you can enjoy the journey so much more. This was always the world's most beautifully engineered luxury open-topped conveyance. Now, with its extra sporting brio, it's even more desirable. Is it the proper four-seater supercar convertible we were promised? Specified correctly, you could argue that. What's more important though, is that this remains a gloriously unique way to travel, in every way a true convertible. A Bentley convertible.
The Bentley Continental GTC is the perfect tool for making a big impression, as June Neary discovers
There's something rather imperious about a Bentley. Whether this company makes the 'best cars in the world' or not, the cars they produce demand a certain respect. And none more than the car I've been checking out this week, the gorgeous Continental GTC convertible. It's also a vehicle that demands a certain 4804mm of parking space, something my driveway signally failed to yield. With its elegantly proportioned rump jutting into the pavement, I had to conclude that the Continental GTC might have been a little too much car for me and my modest mortgage.
I must admit to not being wholly sold on the styling of either the Continental GT coupe or the Flying Spur saloon, but this GTC drop top is a breathtaking piece of design. The stance of the car looks quite different to the coupe, especially when the hood is raised. With a low turret look effected by a small glasshouse, the GTC looks poised and cohesive. Drop the roof and it looks even better. A stainless steel ring runs around the whole cabin and the longer rear deck looks neatly composed. Bentley have striven to avoid the large number of shutlines and creases that are often part and parcel of packaging a convertible roof and the rear of the GTC is extremely clean. The hood itself deserves a mention. Although it's not the quickest folding mechanism around at 25 seconds from roof up to roof down, it's nevertheless a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. With seven bows to preserve stiffness, it features a triple lined fabric construction to ensure the best acoustic and thermal insulation properties. The outer layer is thicker than that of any convertible while the middle insulating layer is also a good deal thicker than the entire roof sections of moist drop tops. The inner layer is made from high quality cloth which echoes the roof lining of Bentleys from yesteryear. Even during the operation of the roof, not one mechanical part is visible. A heated glass rear window is a necessity and there's even an interior light incorporated into the headlining. A neat convenience feature is that the roof can be operated even after pulling away at speeds of up to 20mph, so there's not that anxiety you often get when attempting to operate a soft top in a traffic light queue.
The GTC is so much more than a Bentley Continental GT that's had an angle grinder taken to it. Designed alongside the coupe model, the GTC features a different rear suspension design. Although the basic trapezoidal multi-link arrangement is much the same, the air dampers have needed to be positioned lower and are now attached to a new trapezoidal link. The rates for the air springs and damper hydraulics have also been revised to give a more yielding ride on the softest of the four pre-programmed suspension settings that run from Comfort through to Sport. Power is transmitted to the road via a rear-biased four-wheel drive set up which gives the Continental GTC a handy advantage when the going gets slippery. The link between the driven wheels and the engine comes courtesy of a six-speed automatic transmission built for Bentley by ZF. This can be marshaled via paddles behind the steering wheel should you wish, or else it can be driven like a conventional automatic. This was a surprisingly controversial feature, with some engineers arguing that a car with this much torque didn't need a six-speed gearbox. Yes, you could lock the Continental GTC into third gear and surf languidly along for much of the time, but the enthusiast owner profile eventually dictated the six ratios. The Continental GTC benefits from the expertise of the best aerodynamicists the Volkswagen Group had and the venturi tunnel under the rear of the car and the cooling ducts in the engine bay all attest to their labours. The interior is demonstrably Bentley with acres of leather and wood veneers. The fascia has been designed with a notion of symmetry, the centre console rising up to divide two swathes of veneer that were designed to resemble the Bentley winged logo. The Continental GTC is a proper four seater, the backs of the front seats having been scooped out to offer additional knee room for rear passengers.
For £130,500, value for money is always relative. Yes, you could spend a lot less on something with a lot less cachet. But you could also spend a lot more on assorted Italian exotica. Plus with its impressive amount of standard equipment and healthy residual values, the GTC looks competitive in terms of 'whole life' costs.
Much as I'd love to, I get the impression that while this Bentley may be from Mars, I am definitely from Venus. We're operating on separate social orbits and I feel rather self-conscious in a car that costs so much, especially when people gaze in to see who's behind the wheel. It's a towering achievement and, on merits, probably the finest car I've driven, but it's just a little too much for me. My husband on the other hand is asleep in it as I write. I've been forsaken.
Mr Paul Leggett - 02/12/2018, owner of a Bentley Continental GT S V8
User rating: 4.5/5
Mr Alan Brown - 25/05/2018, owner of a Bentley Continental GT Speed Auto
User rating: 5/5