Bentley’s new GTC convertible is far better with the top up


Rarefied rain gear: The buttoned-up Bentley Continental GTC convertible

The good news: I had the key to a Bentley convertible for 72 hours. The bad news? It rained cats and dogs for about 71 of those. “But don’t worry,” said the nice man at Park Place Bentley Dallas, as he sent me out into the world alone in his $235,000 motorcar. “You cannot make this car skid. Just try.” He’s bloody insane, I thought, as I eased the hand-built, hand-everything car out onto an oily, slick Lemmon Avenue. For the next three chilly, drizzly days, I did not take him up on his challenge. But in an hour or so off the lot, the Bentley had discreetly let me know that everything would be OK if I wanted to. Its grippy all-wheel-drive system shooed away any fear of sliding that gorgeous aluminum body into the minivans and Mitsubishis in the next lanes. The optional neck warmer — part of a $4,000 package which included massagers buried in the seats — wafted heated air onto my neck from a slot in the seatback. (Dear cashmere sweater: We’re through.) But the grandest comfort of all was the one overhead: the GTC’s folding top. It was well-trimmed, four layers thick and solid. The elegant courtesy light snugged into the headliner furthered the illusion that, from inside, the drop-top Bentley could be a hardtop coupe. But the pièce de résistance? The muffled pitter-patter of raindrops on the fabric roof, everywhere I drove. It was delightful. I even turned down the Puccini a time or 10, just to enjoy the soft thwap-thwap-thwap. Suddenly, I was a kid again, on that first camping trip, thrilled at the sound of rain on our canvas tent. (My brother? Less thrilled. He wanted to be outside.) You can’t get that pitter-patter in a metal-roofed vehicle — it can only come from water drops on taut fabric. And in this case, that thwap was the highbrow kind, somehow more expensive-sounding than that of our Coleman tent’s. Oh, and we didn’t have massagers or neck warmers in our sleeping bags. I suddenly feel cheated. Dear Mom: I need $234,710 to make these feelings go away. 5300 Lemmon Ave., 1-888-897-0109;  — Rob Brinkley

Rarefied rain gear: The buttoned-up Bentley Continental GTC convertible

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