Boot space litres Bentley adds the first of the many derivatives to its latest Continental family, delivering the soft-top Continental GT Convertible - or GTC, in the preferred shorthand. The good news is that this is an exceptional luxury grand tourer.
In fact, as it's such a physically big car - 4. Certainly, with its acoustic, multi-layered and substantial fabric roof folded away, its flat-shouldered profile is glorious; your eyes focus even more on the sculpted haunches of the Conti than they would do on the Coupe.
Hood up, it's not too bad either, and in general you're not looking at a visual impediment to having the GTC instead of the GT.
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There is a weight penalty, though, of around kg - our test W12 First Edition clocked a hefty 2,kg at the kerb. Lighter than its convertible predecessor, of course, but still possessing enough mass to have its own gravitational pull.
The Continental GT V8 and GT V8 Convertible are both equipped with front and rear hollow, lightweight anti-roll bars for exceptional handling while the technically advanced, adaptive chassis created for Bentley’s intelligent Dynamic Ride System is also available as an option. The Dynamic Ride System controls ride comfort and lateral roll, cushioning passengers from excessive movement, as well as making the Continental GT V8 models feel effortlessly precise.
Inside is magnificent. Obviously, the trend towards customisation and personalisation that has taken place in car interiors in recent years means that, regrettably, we've seen some Bentleys with, erm Loadsamoney is no guarantee of taste, you see.
However, our test car featured Portland light cream main hide with an Imperial Blue secondary hue, complemented by Liquid Amber over Grand Black wood for the dashboard and door cards, and it was exquisite.
That you can genuinely seat four adults in the Conti GTC for short periods, at least and you get a decent ish amount of boot space too only seals the deal here. We are talking about very, very, very fine margins, here; margins that are not that easily discernible.
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You'll pick up on it the first time you deploy the full Nm of torque by planting your right loafer down to the thick-pile carpets. While the GTC is many leagues away from what you would call 'slow', there's just a hint more hesitation from it, just a scintilla of a sensation that there's a not-inconsiderable amount of vehicle battling the immutable laws of physics and trying to catapult itself at the middle distance.
Maybe it's just that we've tried this variant after the fixed-roof model, and if the roles had been reversed we'd have been more shocked by the GTC's power, but we reckon you can feel the kg of ballast.
You certainly will in the corners and on the brakes. This is more leaning towards the 'grand tourer' side of its dichotomous character, rather than 'sporty'.
Its clever anti-roll systems and air suspension do their best to keep the weighty body in check and, what with its all-wheel drive and big tyres, grip and traction are simply not an issue so the GTC is scandalously quick across ground for what it is. Yet it doesn't feel as rewarding or as poised as the Coupe.
It's just that little bit less happy at being hustled than the tin-top, which means keener 'Bentley Boy' drivers will be heading for the GT. This, though, is not bad news for the GTC, nor for Bentley as a wider marque. First of all, there's now marked differentiation between GT and GTC, a gap which wasn't as clear-cut on the previous generations of modern Continental.
And, as luxurious grand tourers go, this Conti GTC has to be right up there with the very finest in the industry - maybe even unsurpassed. Without taxing it, the Bentley is a beautiful thing to drive. The ride and rolling refinement are pretty much faultless, astonishing given the inch alloys at the corners and also the loss of part of its structural integrity.
It's a simply lovely thing to travel in but it does have to make some tiny dynamic sacrifices to compensate for its open-air charms.
But nothing this high quality is cheap and so the Bentley's price doesn't feel exorbitant, given the way it conducts itself. Also, there are plenty of luxury toys fitted as standard and the option to drop on a few more indulgent items, such as massaging seats.
2019 Bentley Continental GT 6.0 W12 BiTurbo PURE SOUND & ONBOARD by AutoTopNL