Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible 2021 review

Both coupé and convertible are near enough identical cars to interact with at a simpler level. Even in their sportiest drive modes, neither troubles you with much weight or tactile feedback through the steering, but they’re still easy and intuitive to place on the road. And they need to be, of course, because they’re sizable cars with wide bonnets that can make the margins of a winding lane hard to judge, and wide A-pillars that aren’t the easiest to see around.

The truth is, however finely balanced you’re able to make it in handling terms, a car of this size and heft, whose inertia can build very quickly, needs plenty of room to run in to if you’re going to explore its handling. Roads suited to that exercise are rare pretty much wherever you live in 2021, and I suspect Bentley owners willing to go looking for them are also quite rare. But the GT Speed Coupé found a greater number of opportunities to both engage and reward its driver during our test drive than the convertible did.

You needn’t worry about signs of structural weakness or compromised ride refinement here, though: this car remains a consummate luxury operator. Sit in Comfort mode and the GT Speed Convertible will soak up bigger bumps and sharper edges very effectively, without bodily tremors or scuttle shake, and keeping the wind comfortably at bay with the roof down and the windows up. Coarser, more open surfaces can make its big rims and low-profile tyres resonate through the body structure just a little bit, but only rarely when the suspension is set softly. In all other respects, easy fast cruising comes very easily indeed to this car – more easily, I suspect, that it does to any of its rivals.

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Bentley’s W12 engine feels as potent in this 650bhp state of tune as you’d hope it would, albeit still a bit lazy and boosty in its delivery at times, and not being the most enticing engine of its size to listen to. It makes a pleasant noise, but not a soulful one.

The fact that the engine often needs notice to spool up its turbos when you’re in and out of the power is one more minor demerit on its card; the eight-speed gearbox’s occasional refusal to deliver a high-rpm downshift at the first time of asking another. Neither need prevent you from enjoying the GT Speed at a more Bentley-typical canter rather than a flat-out gallop, of course.


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