Watch out crims, the British police have found fast SUVs
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£176,000 when new
Ooh, somebody been promoted to the Premier League? The Noughties called, and it wants its jokes back, thank you very much. Though, a few minutes behind the wheel of this Herculean cabriolet is all it takes to discover why footballists and other athletes are so taken with the Bentley Continental GTC. Because it’s shiny and expensive an- No, it’s because the Bentley Continental GTC is so darn comfortable. Imagine, you’ve just spent 90 minutes running around on a pitch – or doing other such energetic activities Top Gear doesn’t really understand. The only thing you’d want after that is a soothing, luxurious motoring experience to wash away your aches and pains. And we can’t imagine a classier way of doing it. The GTC is Bentley’s big, heavyweight convertible grand tourer, with a ‘z’ fold fabric roof that opens and closes in just 19 seconds at up to 30mph. The car goes very much faster than 30mph of course, because underneath there is a 6.0-litre W12 engine producing 626bhp and 664lb ft. Even if you’d just teleported in from another dimension and knew nothing about ‘cars’, you’d be hard pushed to find a more bombastic powerplant.
So it’s mightily fast, then? Oh god yes. Frighteningly quick. Snap-your-head-back quick. There’s a lot of throttle pedal travel, so if you don’t properly flatten your foot you’d think ‘what’s all the fuss about’. Then you really flatten your foot, and think ‘oh god make it stop’. For a car weighing 2,414kg – yes, nearly two and a half tonnes – that’s nothing short of incredible. The company is quietly, implicitly proud of its weight; a Bentley after all, should feel heavy. Still, get this: 0-62mph takes just 3.7secs, and it’ll top out at over 200mph. But does it fall apart on Britain’s roads? Not really, no. There’s a lot of childish glee to be had from driving something so big, so heavy and so powerful quite quickly along your favourite B-roads. In Sport mode, it’s extremely capable, the steering sharp and accurate, no great heave of weight transfer during spirited cornering. We could use some form of heavyweight boxing analogy here, but we’re better than that. Instead we’ll point to the 48v active anti-roll bars front and back, three-chamber air suspension and continuous damping. Brakes are good, but as we noted on first acquaintance with the GTC, they could be better. However, because the car is so tied down, it suffers a bit with the roof open, the ride worsening ever so slightly from the sheer forces involved, the scuttle ever-so-slightly noticeable. Not a deal breaker in any sense, but it’s there. Wind your neck in however, and venture back into the realm of Comfort mode. Here, the Conti is a supreme GT, floating, wafting, and any other-ing you can imagine, across any surface, all day long. Everything, all the touch and control points feel so well… damped. And well-built. Bet that interior has a lot to play in the comfort of this thing. Correct. It is superlative. High quality leathers, proper wood, proper metal, that wonderful revolving 12.3in central display that rotates and disappears under veneer. It’s optional, but you should option it. Roof down, there’s very little bluster to speak of, while roof up, you’ll think you’re in a hard-top. It’s uncanny. Is it spacious? For the front, yes. For the back, no. You could squeeze people in there, but who wants that? One simply does not squeeze into a Bentley. Better to recline far back, and let your passengers take the bus. Revel in the (optional but surely a must-have) 18-speaker Naim audio system. Float around regally as passers-by admire the Conti GTC’s freshly revised – and now handsome – musculature. It really is a good-looking car, this. What are its rivals? Ferrari’s Portofino, a Mercedes S-Class Cabrio (the big AMG one), Aston’s DB11 Volante… each has a very specific way of entertaining you across a long journey. The Conti GTC isn’t only a grand way to float ethereally across the landscape, but a wonderful item to own, too. Bet it’s an expensive item to own. A wise bet. The GTC starts at £175,100, but our test car came loaded with £54,530 worth of options. Things like the £6,500 ‘Naim for Bentley’ audio, Continental Blackline spec (£3,200), and, um, the £36,095 ‘First Edition’ spec: rotating display, Mulliner driving spec, mood lights, comfort seats, contrast stitching, deep pile mats etc etc. Still, it was in green (sorry, Verdant) with a cream leather interior and black hood. So the correct spec. 8/10
Truly, a Ferrari for all seasons
The soft-top rolls for a new era. Silicon valley gazillionaires, step this way.
The best DB11 so far. Loses little to the V8 Coupé in refinement, better to drive than the V12, and a feast for all the senses