Bentley Motors Continental GT Coupe review (2005-2011)

We’re astounded by the GTC’s abilities, although beneath the veneer are less characterful VW roots

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£151,800 to £209,315

Driving To provide outstanding luxury, weight saving was not at the forefront of the engineers’ minds. A 110kg gain over the coupe is modest, but at 2,475kg, the GTC is a heavyweight. And such a sizeable machine needs an equally mighty engine. Luckily, the twin-turbo W12 is more than up to the task. It emits a very understated rumble, but with 650Nm at 1,600rpm, the Continental has a tidal wave of torque that makes short work of shifting the Bentley. How does a 0-60mph sprint time of only 4.8 seconds grab you? But it’s not how quickly the GTC goes which is most impressive – it’s the driving experience that really excels. There was never a trace of scuttle shake or unwanted vibration – it’s one of the best-engineered soft-tops we’ve ever driven. It’s also surprisingly nimble, and despite the forces involved, resists understeer almost totally. The cosseting ride, peerless refinement and lack of top-down turbulence means the only real drawback is the restrictive rear view with the roof up.

Marketplace Bentley’s target was to create a convertible that drives exactly like its coupe counterpart. No small task when you consider the integral part a roof plays. Certainly the GTC appears fundamentally different to the coupe; no amount of time in the design studio would allow the soft-top to look as elegant or well balanced as the GT coupe with the roof up. But with it lowered, it’s more cohesive – and although there's nothing unusual in the way the fabric roof folds away, we can’t think of a quieter or smoother electric roof mechanism. Rivals at this heady price include the Mercedes SL, Porsche 911 Convertible and Aston Martin DB9 Volante. Or, for a taste of British eccentricity, why not try the Morgan Aero 8?

Owning The Bentley is wonderfully opulent. The front seats are tremendously comfortable, and there’s a real feelgood factor. The three-layer hood is good at absorbing noise, too. At 70mph, the GTC’s cabin is as quiet as a Mercedes S-Class, giving an air of luxurious isolation. It’s also a modern cockpit, with tremendous quality in every area. The blend of leather, wood and chrome is peerless, but it’s all so smooth and well integrated, it looks almost fake in places. It’s by no means faultless elsewhere, either. The sat-nav is slow, more steering reach adjustment wouldn’t go amiss and the presence of VW electronics means it doesn’t have the same hand-made feel as the larger Azure. For such a big car, rear legroom is also decidedly modest, despite cut-outs in the front seat backs. It’s safe to say the GTC likes a drink, too. We recorded a best of 16.3mpg, and a worst of 11.7mpg – our average of 15.2mpg is an accurate guide of what to expect. Servicing will also be expensive, while our insurance quote was an astronomical £4,041 – the highest quote we’ve ever had! At least retained values should be very good, with our experts predicting it will be outstrip the values for the GT coupe.

Engines, performance and drive

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MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

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Interior, design and technology

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Practicality, comfort and boot space

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Reliability and Safety

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Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    4.0 V8 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £151,800

Most Economical

  • Name
    4.0 V8 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £151,800

Fastest

  • Name
    6.0 W12 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £163,100

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