EDITOR WES RAYNAL: After hundreds of years in this business, I still find driving a Bentley a special occasion, even though cars of this ilk make me spend most of my time not so much evaluating, but hoping I don’t run into anything or nobody prangs me. I sit there all nervous. Wadding up a $200K convertible -- that right there would be a bad day.
That said, this 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S convertible and its twin-turbo V8 doesn’t have quite the private-jet-like feel of its W12-powered stablemates. Even though one is giving up only about 50 hp to the 12-cylinder, it feels like more. This is in no way saying the car isn’t go-directly-to-jail fast. It’s a rocket and sounds like one of Rick Hendricks’ NASCAR Sprit Cup cars. It just doesn’t have quite that turbine-like whoosh we’ve written about so often of the W12-powered Bentleys.
I felt a bit of cowl shake, but then again our roads here in Michigan are horrid, so I guess I expected some. Owning one inCalifornia would be the ticket.
This is one of the nicest, most tastefully appointed interiors in the land. Everywhere you look and everything you touch just oozes quality. It’s superb.
Of course, my imaginary fleet includes one of these, because why not? I would get the 12-cylinder, though, because, again, why not?
The Continental GT is an aging, but well proportioned coupe.PHOTO BY BENTLEY
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I feel like a lot of guys who cruise around in the status barge that is the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S convertible take themselves really seriously. You have to occupy a certain station in life to have your name on the title of a quarter of a million dollar car and all that. But who can take themselves seriously in a 5,500-lb drop-top?
We talk a lot about presence, but this car has it -- nearly three tons of it, when you add in two occupants and some luggage. It’s an aging but well-proportioned design that looks OK as a convertible, with the top either up or down. The refresh cleans things up a little, which is a good direction to move in -- though a total redesign must surely be in the works at this point.
All the Continental GT’s weight gets shuffled around by a twin-turbo V8 that’s adequate. I certainly wouldn’t want anything less powerful. This isn’t a Speed, but it’s still quick.
Nimble it is not. If you were to, hypothetically, whip a beast such as this up to extralegal speeds, you might find that it doesn’t handle road imperfections gracefully; it’s not that the car’s four driven wheels don’t stay planted, it’s that the body translates above/around them in somewhat unsettling ways.
Once you get used to the side-to-side sashaying over expansion joints, it is fine. But if you want to drive your Bentley really hard, step up to one of the sportier options. If you can’t spring for one of those, perhaps you should reconsider owning a Bentley in the first place.
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