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Bentley Continental GT Convertible review: Roofless but not toothless

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Marbella, Spain

BENTLEY is aiming at a younger demographic with the latest, third generation Continental GT. So if you are young (or at least, young at heart) and extremely wealthy, take a good look; the Continental's newfound musculature and well-defined sculpting (attributed to a new method of forming metal) are more gold than old.

If you want all that with a touch of glamour, or you simply enjoy the feel of the wind through your hair while you still have it, then the new Convertible is for you.

The cabin architecture and trim options are pleasing on the eye, whatever your age, and those outside the car can also admire the interior with the Convertible's elegant cloth top down, especially if you take the option of the Bentley Rotating Display, a gimmicky yet irresistible section of the dashboard which can be toggled between a panel of gleaming polished wood, a trio of analogue dials and a 12.3-inch touchscreen.

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As the car's name suggests, the plush ambience and lush 2+2 seating make the Bentley a comfortable place in which to pass the time on cross-continental journeys.

Roof up or down, the cabin remains the eye of the hurricane, an idyllic oasis of calm in which to watch the scenery pass by, even as the leviathan surges effortlessly beyond the 300 kmh barrier.

With the top stowed, it is amazing how vocal the 12-cylinder's bark is when prodded hard, and even though it will waft happily, be prepared to be blown away by its bite when it comes to the corners.

The Bentley does not feature any form of active rear-steer that is so popular these days, so a traditional slow-in-fast-out style of driving is required to hustle the 2.4 tonne convertible effectively. However, with 900 Newton-metres of torque available from just 1,350 rpm, you quickly realise that the engine never falls out of the powerband, as prodigious shove is but a pedal-shove and snappy downshift of the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox away. The oversized brakes ensure that it will always be able to stop, swiftly and surely, and it is almost ridiculous how deep you can brake as you approach a corner.

The new model loses none of the old-world charm and sense of artisanal craftsmanship that form a large part of Bentley's personality, yet the array of tech that it features is seamlessly integrated into the car, so it only ever feels like a safe space, and never a Space Shuttle.

Earlier Continental versions could make it feel like you were driving dad's (or grandad's) car, so you would put on a cap and shades. These days however, the younger driver should have little qualms about being seen living it large in the Continental GT Convertible.


Bentley Continental GT Convertible

Engine 5,950cc, W12, twin-turbocharged
Power 635hp at 6,000rpm
Torque 900Nm at 1,350-4,500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h 3.8 seconds
Top Speed 333km/h
Fuel Efficiency 14.0L/100km
Agent Wearnes Automotive
Price S$989,000 without Certificate Of Entitlement
Available 3rd Quarter, 2019