If, for most of the uninitiated, the brand Bentley evokes extremely refined aristocratic limousines, full of leather and wood, this does not really stick to the reality.
Because Bentley was, firstly, a brand designed for sport, which has won the prestigious 24 heures du Mans six times. From this point of view, the Continental GT Coupé, with its sporty ambitions, is the most consistent descendant of this age.
To discover how Bentley really expresses this dynamism on the road, we took the wheel of the last Continental GTC V8S, which is, you have noticed it, a convertible. Do not see any infringement with the story above mentioned as the Bentley 3l, 4 ½ l and the Speed Six, Le Mans’ winners, were also convertibles!
What is seducing from the first kilometers is the outstanding quality of the sound-proofing hood, which offers, in addition to its three layers, a very particular line to this GTC.
The feeling to the touch offered by a soft hood and its muffled doubling can never be equalled by a hard-top. I am left wondering why some are choosing to weigh down even more their cars with these rigid elements hardly ever attractive.
This soft-top fades away in 25 seconds and this, up to 30 km/h, which offers to the Continental GTC a even more compelling profile. No place for debate, a car of this caliber needs to feature a soft-top to preserve refinement and elegance.
I must admit it, I lied. Indeed, the first true feeling that we experiment when we open the heavy door of the Continental passes through the nostril.
There is a multitude of leathers used in the motor industry but none smells like the ones used by Bentley. British are mastering this field and besides the quality of aspect and materials, the exhalation of the saddlery achieves to make you feel dizzy.
Necessarily, after such a warm welcome, smiling is required and there is a lot more to discover. It seems that there is no part of the cockpit that slips from electrification. The design of the board, that subtly evokes the winged logo of Bentley, highlights the carbon (or the wood) and the aluminium.
The most recent productions offer more embedded technologies, outstanding connectivity and a multitude of functions, even some digital dashboards.
After having handle theses aluminium buttons, grazed this over stitched leather, one left wondering whether high-end-luxury can really disregard the manual commands as there are making us feeling the quality of all these noble materials.
Wouldn’t these modernities, such as the touch screens, remove this particular feeling of prestige and luxury to these singular cars? Unless is it a topic of age? Time will tell us but Bentley did not decide yet and the touch screen can also be controlled thanks to metal wheels and buttons.
On this kind of model, the cockpit is always designed according to the customer’s personal tastes, needless to judge this one. Just note that Crewe’s craftsmen will be attentive to your desires and that the only constant is the quality of the fittings and of the finishing.
For the rest, your imagination and your budget will dictate the designers.
Under the bonnet, our Continental GTC V8S does not feature the powerful W12 but the evolution of the « small » V8 which offers 528 ch and a staggering 680 Nm from a mere 1700 rpm.
This V8S takes advantage of the opportunity to lighten its nose without becoming a ballerina, as it weighs 2.5 tons. These characteristics allow us to form an opinion on the sporty character of our British!
To achieve 0 to 100 km/h, the 4.80m of our yacht need 4.7s, proof of the effectiveness of the 4 driving wheels and of the strength of this V8 4.0l biturbo whose rumbling will seduce the sportiest customers, much less the music-lovers.
With the first curve comes the behaviour’s chapter and more particularly, the suspension adjustable according to 4 positions. After some there and back between Comfort and Sport, you will conclude that the first position is the best one. It avoids all the useless trepidation that could spoil your pleasure.
The Continental GTC V8S, featuring a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, wasn't conceived anyway to be brusque. However, it will be an extraordinary, a serene and a fast car ideal to drive around.
The fresh temperatures will not be an issue as everything has been conceived so that you will not feel what’s going out of the cockpit, soft-top open or not. Needless to say that the sound system by Naim will be perfect to entertain a lonely driver.
You have understood, the British conception of the sport car is very far, from by instance, the conception of the German, who possess most of the British prestigious brands. Let’s hope that this difference will carry on so that a Continental will continue to transport its passengers from A to B, but also within another dreamlike universe, with this taste of detachment that characterize our British neighbors.