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.

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST - BENT­LEY GTC V8

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.

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