First Review of the 2019 Bentley Continental GT Convertible: 207-mph Torso Shredder



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If an ultra-luxury car is called ubiquitous, it's Bentley Continental GT. Between his coupe, cabriolet and Flying Spur Sedan body styles, this family of frequent flyers is getting closer to the inescapable postal code the most refined in the world. In fact, Bentley has sold more than 66,000 units since its launch in 2003, making the Continental the UK's best-selling model line. (The four-door Flying Spur was part of the Conti lineup, but since the second generation, the company has considered it a separate line.)

As a result, some internet snack merchants have tried to qualify the Continental as "Camry for the Rich", but they lack the plot – despite its relative popularity, this family's DNA has not nothing ordinary. The last proof? The Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019. Historically, few ultraluxury cars have been as comprehensive as a Continental GT, and I am pleased to announce that this new model will only shine this reputation. In simple terms, this car is about as sublime as you'll discover, and the fact that its roof disappears is just a bonus.

This new droptop is no exception to the GT's style rule, which has remained virtually unchanged since Bentley's designers made the bold (and non-controversial) decision to significantly expand the main interior design lights to are significantly larger than their smaller counterparts. The same panoramic roofline, the prominent front grille and the heavily rolled rear sides continue for three generations and 16 years to this day. The most noticeable start of the new model is its almond-shaped taillights that give the rear a twisted look.

This design continuity suggests that, in the long run, Bentley intends to evolve the Conti GT range in the same way as its corporate cousins ​​at Porsche. 911. Indeed, like the back-engine icon of this German company, much of the Conti company's design language has spread throughout the gamut of the company, especially by sharing many similarities with the SUV of the brand. Bentayga.

Despite familiar appearances, the architecture of this third-generation 2019 Bentley Continental Convertible GT is nevertheless new, since it was introduced for the first time in 2018 on the coupe model. Built on top of the Volkswagen Group's MSB platform, this Continental Convertible shares many of its invisible elements with Porsche's current technologies. Panamera family.

These new British models allow a considerable wheelbase of 4.1 inches, much of which is not structured in the interest of the back seat, but rather for what Bentley amusingly calls the "Prestige Mass" – a race longer. axle ratio. The front overhang is actually shorter and the rear overhang considerably longer, which gives the whole of the form a more streamlined appearance, especially with the hood folded and motorized. The best choice, however, is a better weight distribution between the front and the back for more precise handling.

Officials say the new platform is 20% lighter and 5% stiffer than its predecessor. Even though this generation has an aluminum frame with the same body, this two-door is nothing less than a heavyweight. In fact, at over 5,300 pounds before options (about the same weight as a well dressed man Ford F-150 cabin cab), the cabriolet weighs about 375 pounds more than its already sturdy and beefy brother.

As I discovered by screwing the Continental Convertible through the picturesque Andalusian mountains of southern Spain, there is no disguise of the considerable width of the Continental on narrow, winding roads. . However, the new chassis is doing wonders to make this car lighter and more accurate than any vehicle of this weight, especially with a large hole where a roof would normally have been.

Much of its magical performance can be attributed to the car's new active anti-roll bars, which rely on a 48-volt configuration for speed and power. The system can decouple the anti-roll bars at will for smooth running and in a straight line, and lock them quickly to the turn almost as flat as a light sports car. A brake-based torque vectoring system further enhances handling while operating imperceptibly.

The roof falls in 19 seconds. On the roof, this new generation is as quiet as the last-generation hardtop coupe.

Richard Pardon / Bentley

One would think that with standard 21-inch wheels and optional 22-inch units mounted on my tester (part of a $ 12,755 Mulliner Driving Specification package), the Continental Convertible could roll in flint, but at least under optimal conditions. On the maintained Spanish tarmac, driving comfort was not a problem – even reinforced in Sport mode. The car's air suspension has been redesigned to use 60% larger three-chamber air springs, and the adaptive dampers have performed well under all circumstances.

These massive wheels offer enough space for large enough brakes: 16.5-inch discs with 10-piston calipers at the front, 15-inch discs, and four-piston caps at the rear. For my money, these steel brakes fit better with the lightweight character of a cabriolet than a set of sleeker carbon ceramics, offering reassuring braking power without the noise or excess of dust.

The standard all-wheel drive system of the Conti has also been completely reworked. The car now operates essentially as a rear wheel, although it can transmit nearly 40% of available torque to the front wheels in the car's default version, "Bentley". settings or comfort mode. When the shift lever is set to Sport, the front wheels can only receive up to 17% of the power, a decision that helps reduce the understeer that previously hampered the GT's driving pleasure.

Looking for 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque.

Bentley

Speaking of power: there are some. A lot, actually. The Continental GT Convertible is driven by the 6.0-liter W12 turbocharged engine borrowed from the Bentayga, where it debuted a few years ago. The new engine uses direct injection and direct injection, delivering 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, the latter boiling from 1350 rpm.

An acceleration at 60 miles per hour is estimated at 3.7 seconds, but Bentley has sometimes been modest on acceleration times, and it would not surprise me if this model is faster by a few tenths. The top speed is determined by a screaming follicle of 207 mph, but there is power everywhere underneath – it takes some time to recalibrate your right foot so you do not run into the neighboring country when you just want to double a tractor-trailer.

The Continental has always been surprisingly muscular, but "basic" models like this one do not usually boast much about sound. Turn the driving mode dial to Sport and you'll hear humble sound pyrotechnics in case of saturation, but if you expect bursts of color such as those you encounter in a V12 of the Aston Martin DB11 VolanteWell, think again. This convertible may be capable of driving heroes, but it never really screams about it. I understand the maturity of such an approach, but the possibility of composing a little more noise would not bother me. The inevitable GT Speed ​​and / or V8 Bentley models may be a little noisier, but it's too early to tell.

A new all-wheel drive system more often preserves rear wheel processing values.

Richard Pardon / Bentley

Fuel economy estimates have not yet been released, but the outgoing model recorded 12 miles per gallon, 20 highways and 14 combined. Given its slightly lower empty weight, its stop-start system and its more sophisticated transmission, I would expect a slight boost up, but probably not more than a figure or two.

Speaking of transmissions, though there is something radically different in this arsenal of Continental's third generation performance, it's the choice of a gearbox: a dual-clutch unit at eight speeds. If you read this and alarm ringtones go off in your head, you are not alone. DCTs have long been the choice of high-end sports machines, but even the best of them exchange low-speed refinements for responsiveness. (This usually manifests as algae and occasional strokes equal to or less than 5 mph, as you might encounter a step forward in a turn lane.)

Naturally, this kind of behavior would be unacceptable in a luxury proposal first like a Bentley, so I worried. I will not say that the company's engineers have completely defeated such behavior, but I can say that 99% of buyers will not notice or think to question Bentley's decision to use this type of cogswapper.

The GT range of Bentley finally has the most modern interiors that it needs for a long time.

Richard Pardon / Bentley

The ZF case, shared with Porsche Panamera but independently tuned, is the most refined DCT I've ever experienced. The plus point of the equation, of course, is that dual clutch gearboxes offer extremely fast changes, both in automatic mode and in play with paddles. The success of the GT is still based on the fact that, even though it is capable of achieving supercar performance levels, it is also a very accomplished daily driver and that the new double-clutch clutch should not jeopardize this reputation. .

As you can imagine, the heart of Bentley's property lies in its interior, and this one is really nice. At the end of his predecessor's model, the Continental cabin was beginning to feel its age, both in terms of materials and technology, so it is here that the job required the most.

The new interior straightens everything that is both beautiful and fragrant: its leather is simply beautiful, especially with diamond diamond quilting available. According to the authorities, there would be up to 310 675 stitches – 1.74 miles – of wire in each car. (Also in the pantheon of absurd interior numbers: each car uses 10 m² of wood veneer, or 108 square feet.)

The infotainment is the oldest, but the new system is up to date (but not as good as the last Audi MMI).

Richard Pardon / Bentley

The biggest improvement in the cabin, however, is undoubtedly the new 12.3-inch touch screen that offers everything from Wi-Fi to Apple CarPlay (sorry, Android Auto users), as well as to Google Street View and search for POI online. The Gauge Group is also fully digital to better monitor the phalanx of available active safety features, including Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise with Traffic Blocking Assistance, Pedestrian Warning. and infrared night vision. Unfortunately, these advanced driver assistance systems are part of very expensive option packs, combined with other features such as a very nice head-up display and a panel recognition. signaling. An inductive phone charger and additional ambient lighting are standalone extras.

The new infotainment works well and has a nice appearance, but if the whole screen seems a little overwhelming, Bentley will be happy to offer you a dose of what is called "digital detox" – the ability to hide the central screen by rotating it out of sight, concealing it behind a massive veneer when parked or a trio of analog gauges (temperature, compass and stopwatch) in motion. Like any good celebrity therapy session, this seemingly simple option is very expensive: over $ 6,000 only, but for the plutocrats who want to impress the passengers, it has little equal.

If you feel that it is easy to inflate the price of the sticker of your dream Bentley, you recover what I tell. While a 2019 Continental GT coupe starts at $ 214,600, the convertible starts at $ 236,100, which means that the privilege of folding this top in 19 seconds costs nearly $ 22,000.

This is only the beginning, though. The My Flame Orange Tester contains $ 61,030 of irresistible (but not atypical) options, bringing its profitability to $ 297,130. There is still about $ 50,000 less than the base price of (significantly less powerful and less athletic) Rolls-Royce Dawn. Of course, trying to apply rational financial thinking to an inherently irrational market segment, such as six-digit convertibles, is a stupid task. Suffice to say that if you can afford anything in this class, you can and should buy what you want.

Almost all cars at this level of stratospheric price will impress the driver on many levels, but few will impress it as completely and completely as the 2019 Bentley Continental GT Convertible. Combining supercar performance with a plutocratic luxury, All-weather touring chops, long legs, and a wealth of technology, you find yourself facing one of the most accomplished and comprehensive automobiles in the world, available at any price.

Oh Happy Day.

Richard Pardon / Bentley


Editor's note: Travel costs related to this feature have been paid for by the manufacturer. This is common in the automotive industry because it is much cheaper to send journalists to cars than to send them to reporters. While Roadshow accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers to provide rated editorial reviews, all rated vehicle reviews are completed on our territory and in accordance with our terms.

The opinions and opinions of the editorial team of Roadshow are ours and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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