Immersion, comfort and style are paramount in the steady enterprise of open-road touring. Bentley Motors has unveiled their fastest grand tourer yet in the second generation Continental GT model run, and it’s all class. On its exterior, the winged ‘B’ maintains the institutional aesthetic of the model from previous years, with subtle stylistic tweaks to improve the ergonomics. An extended lower grill, redesigned lip-style spoiler and the luminous veneer additions of ‘shortbread’ and ‘camel’ are among the first external features that immediately demand one’s attention. Bentley reveals its hand in the most exceptional new addition to this generation, yes, we’re talking about the engine. Just one listen to that deep, rumbling tenor and you’ll understand why the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 aims true, stealing your eyes away from the competition. Make no mistake, everyone else will be looking at you on the highway and beyond.
While the GT Convertible is well-suited and fundamentally designed for distance travel, it flirts with the poise of a sports car, specifically in the mischief-bearing acceleration. With its V8 Engine, you’re experiencing a formidable 502 lb-ft of torque from 1,700 to 6,000 rpm. Then of course, there’s the alternative in a 6.0-liter turbocharged W12, pushing the horsepower up to 626. With such power present at a low rpm, you won’t have to strain the engine for apt response and your transmission shifts will be minimal, even at interstate speeds. With the enhanced comfort behind the wheel, you won’t believe your speedometer as it hits 60 in a shy blink.
I have always had a keen respect for the quality of the upholstery in the Bentley, so it is no disappointment that the GT Convertible maintains an undiminished standard. While it is without any radical changes, improvements are present in display and configuration. Expect the return of broad authentic leather seating, now with two new hide and stitching alternatives as well as equipped with electronically adjustable positioning and massage functions. Tactile features of the steering wheel controls have been modified to deliver further ease-of-accessibility, as well as the wheel itself sporting a revamped, more narrow contour on the inner joints.
The GT Convertible ‘Infotainment System’ includes over 45 GB dedicated to localized music storage and integrated advanced GPS touchscreen capability. Its innovated computer keeps the driver apprised of incoming weather conditions, traffic and accurate tire pressure readings.
With four specified model configurations and a host of added performance dynamics, it would be no stretch to say that the Bentley is among the select elite in gran turismo range automobiles available. You’ll get top of the line luxury, energy-efficient engine response and ample space for four in this suave ride. Few cars can compete with its capable combination of comfort, speed and extravagance. The 2016 Bentley Continental GT Convertible is this year’s quintessential centerfold in chic travel.
Horsepower: 521 / 626
0-60 MPH: 3.9 seconds
Top Speed: 206 MPH
Engine: twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8
Torque: 502 lb-ft.