“2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible”
Now you can reach for the sky in a really rapid fresh air transport
Back In 2010, the Bentley team from Crewe delivered the fastest, most powerful Bentley ever produced with a top – the extreme Continental Supersports Coupe. The following year, Bentley followed by introducing the ultimate in fresh air motoring – the Continental Supersports Convertible – an example of extreme engineering and execution in a superlative topless transport – the most potent drophead ever produced up to that point. Now the 2014 model year serves up the Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible – a gorgeous 500 plus horsepower droptop.
Essentially, the Continental GT V8 S Convertible employs the same basic mechanicals as its Coupe counterpart, while adding rollover protection and torsional body stiffening in the form of strengthened “A”-pillars, sills and underfloor cross bracing.
The convertible hood (or top in U.S. speak) accounts for the obvious differential from the coupe. The top features a low stack height when lowered made possible by a drop in the rear suspension setup. The 7-bow top is constructed from the inside out, consisting of a header with Cantrail trim, interior fabric, seals, a latch and striker, the primary frame with a micro-switch and potentiometer, hydraulic controls, electricals including an interior lamp, padding, and the fabric outer. Top operation is controlled by a single switch that allows the top to be lowered (or raised) in 25 seconds even when the vehicle is moving at a vehicle speed of up to 20 mph.
Now, back to the mechanicals… Power for the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible comes from a 6.0-liter, twin turbo V8 that is capable of propelling it from 0-60 mph in a scant 4.5 seconds. The potent V8 produces 521 brake horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while generating 502 pound feet of torque in at 1,700 rpm. The engine is positioned longitudinally up front and is coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission with wheel mounted paddle shifters that deliver shifts in 93 milliseconds. Top speed for the Continental GT V8 S is limited to 191 mph.
The chassis benefits from a low ride height with a stiff anti-roll bar, increased bushing rates, retuned damper strategy, retuned steering and wide rear track.
This fresh air Bentley rides on 9.5 x 21-inch forged alloy wheels featuring an increased rear offset, and shod with Pirelli P-Zero performance tires. The wheels are finished in gloss black by a process called Physical Vapor Deposition, which is an ultra-high temperature procedure that is also used on the grille and other black trim accents. The Bentley “B” is featured at each machined face wheel’s center, with matching “B” valve stem caps.
In terms of styling, the appearance falls into the elegantly gorgeous category. The exterior is contemporary but exquisite. The front fenders are gracefully rounded with quad projector-style headlamps flanking the one-piece integrated grille/bonnet with a central character line, hood side grilles and winged Bentley logo. Beneath the mesh grill which is executed in the unique black chrome-like finish, is a wide lower horizontal air intake with vertical outboard air intakes, which also feature the black mesh inserts. The windshield is sharply raked, and there is no “B” pillar, due to the convertible configuration.
A pronounced character line runs from the front wheel well arch, fading just before a similar character line off of the rear wheel well arch. A chrome rocker trim accent travels from the front wheel well continuing to a rear edge that continues around the rear end to the license well. The deck lid, with an integrated spoiler lip, picks up the subtle accent lines featuring another Bentley logo. Dual, horizontal exhaust tips reside in a recessed, black, full width housing.
Moving to the interior, the front sport seats are based on a carbon fiber shell and are highly supportive covered in leather with quilted seating surface inserts featuring stitching to match the base leather color. Carbon fiber accents abound, complemented by chrome trim. The pedals are done in aluminum, and there is a purposeful “dead” pedal. The Bentley winged logo graces the three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel, along with embossed logos in the seatbacks. The Breitling chronometer adds a nice touch as well.
Old world craftsmanship and modern state-of-the-art technology form a union delivering heightened levels of convenience with familiar luxurious comfort elements. The steering wheel, seats and mirrors are all heated, and the car is fitted with a premium audio and satellite navigation system. A unique console extends from the instrument panel to the rear bulkhead, affording rear passengers the same ambience as the front seat occupants, providing that those up front are not too long of limb.
My test 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible wore an elegant Ice metallic exterior coat, with a Black cloth top. The interior was a combination of Hotspur and Beluga leather, with carbon fiber and chrome trim accents. The base price was set at $216,200. While the price as tested after adding for options, came to $250,665. before tax and license. Total option cost came to $30,740 and included: the metallic paint $4,395, Driving specification with Colour specification $14,845, deep pile overmats $410, Massage seats and seat ventilation for front seats $900, storage case for the center console $615, wind deflector $545, CD changer $640, power boot opening and closing $3,920, Convenience Specification $3,920, Neck Warmer $1,035, Sports exhaust $2,480, Destination charge and Gas Guzzler tax.
SUMMARY: The 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible provides the best of both worlds in a phenomenal and wickedly fast open air grand touring automobile that rips at the pavement when nailed, while managing to evoke a graceful and stunningly beautiful aura. Not everyone will be able to own one, and even those who are fortunate to acquire stewardship, won’t necessarily be able to successfully master the car’s performance capability to the fullest level. The Continental GT V8 S is truly not a vehicle for the masses, given its intended purpose in life, that of stylishly alluring excess. The ransom required for ownership of such a vehicle is indeed prohibitive for mere mortals.
Once one slides behind the steering wheel into position in the highly supportive sport seats, and faces the deeply recessed analog gauges, the reality that this is no ordinary ride takes over – it is truly something special, and should there remain even the slightest modicum of doubt, nail the throttle, and any possible misgivings are instantly eliminated. The Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible is an elegant, athletic machine with unbridled power and polish. If only I had the wherewithal, It is a car that I would readily own. The ride quality is superb – a harmonious blend of both firm and compliant. Handling attributes are simply amazing for a vehicle with the mass of the V8 S– it is extremely athletic and nimble, delivering instantaneous response to one’s inputs at will.
When making gear changes, the driver may override the automatic function at will via the column-mounted paddle shifters. When in Sport mode, gears are also changed automatically as appropriate, or by shifting via the gearshift lever and paddle shifters when in the right side manual gate.
The car’s uniqueness seems to fall into the proper perspective with Ice metallic finished exterior, fulfilling the role of the ideal super luxury convertible.
What can Bentley possibly have in the works to surpass this highly desirable car? Rest assured, there will be an enhanced model of some sort, as Bentley never rests on its laurels. For now, this open air Grand Tourer certainly seems to cover all aspirational bases.
The Bentley Continental GT V8 S is a head-turner and traffic-stopper. It is without doubt, one of the most beautiful automobiles produced today, and is most worthy of its performance heritage. It is both fast and smooth, accelerating rapidly, handling nimbly and enveloping its occupants in total luxury.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible
|Price as Tested:||$250,665.|
|Engine Type and Size:||4.0-liter DOHC, 32-valve, twin turbcharged V8 with two parallel twin-scroll turbochargers, indirect intercooling and Direct Injection with four cylinder and fuel deactivation at light load.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||521 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||502 @ 1,700 rpm|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic with torque converter.|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / Permanent all-wheel drive.|
Front – Four-link double wishbone with anti-roll bar, revised damping and 70% increase in bushing stiffness.
Rear – Trapezoidal multi-link with anti-roll bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel vented and cross-drilled cast iron discs (Carbon Silicon Carbide optional) with ABS, EBD, HBA, Aquaplane detection and two-mode ESP.|
|Tires:||Pirelli P-Zero 275/35 ZR21 mounted on 7 -spoke Black Limited Edition alloy wheels with machined face.|
|Length Overall:||189.2 inches|
|Width:||76.5 inches without mirrors ( 87.7 inches with).|
|Curb Weight:||5,445 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||24.0 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||14 mpg city / 24 mpg highway|
|Drag Coefficient:||0.32 with roof up.|
|0 – 60 mph:||4.5 seconds – Top speed=191 mph.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.