Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet: Luxury is sport
The latest Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet knows how to do it all: stick to the basques of a Ferrari on the attack of a mountain pass, or pamper its passengers as only a Rolls-Royce can. A big gap to the Englishwoman. We tried it!
When it comes to exceptional automobiles, there are several schools. The first, dear to brands like Rolls-Royce, aims to offer the greatest level of luxury possible by voluntarily disinteresting itself in sporty driving. The second, followed by brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche or Mercedes-AMG, prefers to prioritize driving sensations before maximum comfort. But between these two extremes, many compromises exist. An Aston Martin, for example, can combine interior refinement with soft cushioning while saving driving pleasure. A Porsche 911 Turbo S, which has become an absolute reference for sports performance, also knows how to take care of its occupants. But when it comes to the subtle balance between absolute luxury and driving pleasure, Bentley's recipe remains a special place in today's automotive landscape.
So take the latest convertible version of the Continental GT, which was switched two years ago to a new generation of models. His style still refers to the world of luxury cars, despite more muscular lines than before. Once installed in this interior lined with the most beautiful leathers in the world, where metal replaces plastic almost systematically, it's like a Rolls-Royce. The feeling of driving an English elitist convertible is confirmed after the start: drowned in the center of a world full of precious materials, caressed by a light Mediterranean breeze but isolated from the big swirls of the air and the agonies of everyday life, it feels like an open palace. The damping provides a bit of the "flying carpet" effect of the best luxury limousines, but a small detail betrays the double personality of this exceptional machine: the discreet but permanent gluttonous of the new V8 installed under the front hood.
The first acceleration confirms that with its 550 horsepower, this luxury barge also knows how to accelerate like a Porsche 911. Even better, it also resists corners. While a Rolls-Royce twists painfully in a curve, the Bentley retains a dynamic degree of efficiency that you couldn't suspect while admiring its aristocratic dress. It must be said that the great English GT is based on a Porsche Panamera chassis revised and corrected by Bentley engineers. Without going as far as the German in terms of sporting artifice (no rear steering wheels), the British cousin displays an impressive level of mastery as soon as she is really brutalized. There is even enough to slip joyfully from the rear gear to the exit of the turn, something absolutely unthinkable with the old model. Admittedly, it still lacks a less filtered feel direction and a more permissive box in manual mode to believe yourself behind the wheel of a real super-sports car from Ferrari or Aston Martin. But none of these competitors will be able to navigate with such serenity in the hostility of conventional road traffic. Driving a Continental GT takes weeks and thousands of kilometres to start feeling tired. By the way, only 9.5 litres per 100 kilometres of consumption were recorded on a Marseille-Monaco negotiated slightly above the speed limits. Yes, this 2.4-ton liner, capable of shooting down 0 to 100 km/h in 4 seconds and spinning at 318 km/h, can be fuel efficient on the road!