Striking yellow GTC convertible has the roar of a real champion
It comes with a sizeable price tag, but this powerfully-built four-seater convertible is a bargain, says Frederic Manby.
IT was hard to begrudge the Bentley its drinking habit. The twin turbo V8 made such a delicious noise – and became yet another contender for the coveted Best Driving Sounds awards which will be awarded some random night in the Camshaft Arms. The judges’ decision will be final but can be influenced by shed loads of festive organic food and Champagne.
I jest, of course, but the contenders include Porsche Cayman and Jaguar F-Type. My Bentley test car was the GTC convertible and with the hood down it sounded ten per cent better – roaring through two pairs of exhausts, part of an exhaust tune-up kit to give a set of stirring melodies.
I know, an almost mature bloke cooing about car noises, tut tut.
The sparkly yellow paint (kennel name of Aztec Sun Pearlescent, price alarming) had caught me goggle-eyed and loving it – but you know what peer pressure is like. It was wrecked by Dave (his real name, so as not to confuse him with the other talents who populate The Smallbore Bar, all of whom know more about most things than I do). He said the yellow paint, plus the monster polished alloys, made it look like a drug dealer’s car.
Someone else said it looked like a banana. I think people are intentionally snippy. That, truly and secretly, they loved this car. So did I. The muscular body can carry the canary paint. It could be viewed as “brazen” Up North and affect its resale value and you are never going to be a low profile character in it. Black or silver would be the conservative choice for the coy drug dealer.
Considering the mass of 2.5 tons, this four-seater convertible is a sensational thing. The handling and ride are excellent. It is easy to use, easy to park (helped by a rear view camera at £775) and worth every quid if it prevents a nudge.
With permanent all-wheeldrive and a super eight-speed automatic gearbox, it can charge to a top speed of 187mph. You can pay for driving sessions with Bentley to experience these unusable speeds and, of more use, go ice and snow driving.
The 0-60mph time is under five seconds and I never felt uncomfortable about driving this car quickly through curves and swerves. Well, truthfully, the movement of the fuel gauge (a 20 gallon tank) was a constraint.
Somehow, I managed not to scuff three of the four 21-inch Black Limited Edition alloys (£3,285 a set). Quite how and where I textured the rim of the front nearside wheel I know
Considering the mass of 2.5 tons, this fourseater convertible is a sensational thing.
not. As I mentioned last time I drove a Bentley (and scuffed TWO rims) some sort of kerbalert would help drivers like me.
The car otherwise comes with a panoply of kit and help. It not only monitors the tyre pressures but says whether it is fitted with winter tyres, and their size.
It costs £139,000 which I think is a bargain, though £15,000 more than the V8 GT coupe – which is even more of a bargain and a useful 170kg lighter. This weight gain by the GTC illustrates the amount of padding that has been added to keep it stiff – and the mass of the roof and its motorised mechanism.
There are a few side issues which I’ll come to after more eulogy. The 4-litre V8 engine, supplied from the Volkswagen empire, is installed in Crewe, along with a lot of other imported stuff such as the transmission and body, but that keeps prices down and does not dilute the bespoke feel of this wonderful car.
I could think of no reason to pay an extra £15,000 for the 12-cylinder version. It is thirstier and much dirtier but only marginally quicker (0.3 seconds in the 0-60 sprint) and sounds dull compared to the V8. No contest, even if someone else was paying.
The official fuel consumption figures are (rounded) 18mpg urban, 35mpg extra urban, 26mpg combined, with 254g/km of CO2. On test it gave between 20 and 30 miles a gallon. That’s not too shabby.
What’s not to like? The heavy action of the long doors has a wide swing which needs watching. Arguably, there should be more mid-points and the mechanism will not hold it open on modest slopes, The Flying Spur has a better graduated cog system which addresses those things.
At first I noticed some chassis interference through the front – presumably a consequence of its decapitation. The sat nav display is ordinary for a car like this; e.g. the scale adjustment is by touch, not a dial and the graphics are dull. The petrol cap is a mundane plastic thing on a leash.
Verdict: Nice and mellow in this pearly yellow Bentley.