âIts muscular, sporty and masculine disposition will have you feeling like a boss from the minute you hit the engine starter button.â
When looking into the ultra-high-end cabriolet market, only a few brands and models that come to mind. However, one stands tall above the rest: the Bentley Continental GT V8 S convertible. I recently had the opportunity to drive this tour de force of a GT car through the streets of London. It was my first time in the soft top version and the suave sophistication it oozes is intoxicating.
Top up itâs quiet, comfortable and refined. However, if you want to liven things up a bit, drop the top, put it in Sport mode and hear that raspy twin-turbo 4.0L V8 come to life through the sports exhaust. Fortunately, it was quite warm in London, so the possibilities to enjoy the full range of this carâs abilities were endless. And when the temperatures did cool, a heated steering wheel kept my hands warm, vents in the seat blew warm air at my neck, while the rest of the seat kept me toasty with a massage function to boot. With a television tuner and a hugely impressive 900W audio system, I could have easily packed up my belongings and called the Continental home.
So, itâs comfortable, refined and has all the bells and whistles youâd expect from a Bentley. But I know youâre wondering what itâs like to drive. Does it live up to the pedigree, or has it gone all soft?
For a car that weighs more than 2.4 kg, itâs faster than youâd think. Thatâs thanks to 521 hp, all-wheel drive, and a slick 8-speed ZF transmission. The GT V8 S convertible will hit 100 km/h in 4.7 secs and go on to a top speed of 308 km/h.
Bentley has managed to create a very responsive and unadulterated driving experience. Lag is limited and thanks to hot-side inside technology of placing the turbos inside the V of the V8 cylinders, the Continental is more efficient with reduced weight and energy wastage. The 10mm lower suspension over the regular V8 model and enhanced aerodynamics mean that high-speed stability and handling are improved and will keep you planted, even if youâre driving like your hair is on fire. And mine came fitted with large ceramic brakes that promptly dealt with stopping at any speed, which comes in pretty useful for driving in vehicle-dense London.
Cruising around the city – like most Bentley owners will do – is a breeze in the Continental. It also looks the part, with 21-inch diamond turned wheels, beluga glossed body panels and a chrome tipped sports exhaust. Its muscular, sporty and masculine disposition will have you feeling like a boss from the minute you hit the engine starter button.
To take luxury to an entirely new level, in-house specialist Mulliner is at hand to offer a range of options to make your Bentley one-of-a-kind. Owners can customise everything, from bodywork to interior trims and even bespoke luggage to fit special items easily into your vehicle.
The car that I drove featured a Mulliner package which included special black and diamond wheels, diamond-quilted and perforated hide seats (my personal favourite feature of the car) and embroidered Bentley emblems, to name but a few.
Driving the Continental GT V8 S convertible was better than I expected. I knew it would be good, but the levels of refinement and composure are something else. Itâs spacious while still feeling sporty enough to remind you that itâs capable of catching a bullet train. If youâre looking for a luxury drop-top grand tourer, then look no further.
Visit the official websites of Bentley and Wearnes Automotive for more information.
Words by Robbie Wilson