You might not have much sympathy for anyone fortunate enough to be debating whether to buy the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S coupe or the convertible. You might be even less sympathetic to hear we assigned ourselves the odious task of driving the cars back-to-back to help those lucky souls pick between the two body styles. Hey, this is important consumer advice.
Aside from the part above your head, the two versions don't differ much mechanically. With a twin-turbo V-8 engine tuned to deliver 521 hp, and an eight-speed automatic transmission divvying up 502 pound-feet of torque, acceleration is stupendous. The Bentley's immense weight creates a moment of lethargy pulling away from a stop before the wall of torque presses shoulder blades into leather seats. The Continental GT has more power than our Four Seasons 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, and the GTs are only negligibly slower than it to 60 mph—0.5 second slower for the coupe and 0.7 slower for the convertible.
Plenty of cars provide rocket-ship acceleration, but few match the way the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S glides down the road. First, though, we set the four-mode adaptive suspension to the softest setting to erase the battle scars of southeast Michigan's well-worn I-94. Bumps over expansion joints are notable simply because they're the first road imperfection transmitted to the occupants in miles. The composed ride isn't the only awe-inspiring part of the experience. Windows closed, the cabin is so quiet you can hear the whirring of the motors for the seat massagers. Touch the flawless hand-stitched leather, and silently thank the ladies in Crewe for their hard work. Crank up the 1100-watt Naim sound system to hear entirely new chords in "Layla."
So, the 2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S is wonderful. As to our original question, we pick the convertible. If you're going to flaunt your wealth and beauty in an opulent two-door car, it may as well have an open roof. All the better for others to see who's behind the wheel, all the better for you to revel in the joy of six-figure motoring, all the easier to hear the baritone exhaust when you open the taps.
It's a tough choice, but somebody has to make it.
2014 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Specifications
|Base price||$199,225 (coupe), $219,925 (convertible)|
|Price as tested||$231,470 (coupe), $246,385 (convertible)|
|Engine||4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8|
|Fuel economy||15/24 mpg (city/highway, coupe), 14/24 mpg (convertible)|
|Cargo capacity||12.6 cu-ft (coupe), 9.18 cu-ft (convertible)|