Let’s face it, winters in Quebec are long. Point final. The grey skies, the frigid temperature, and the salt/slush streets (don’t even get me started with the slush) result in winter being the grimmest time of the year for car enthusiasts. However, there are a few times a year when the weather is just right: moments of sun and blue skies, a temperature that hovers between 0°C & +3°C, and a light snowfall that covers the slush (amen) that serves as a reminder that winter could be pleasant in our ‘belle province’. Well, January 24th was one of those days and I had the opportunity to celebrate the occasion with a Bentley Continental GT. I’ve spotted a few local Continental GT owners who drive their cars all year round (although Bentayga’s surpass Continental’s by a ratio of at least 5:1), but the uncommon factor is seeing one driving top down… and that is exactly what I did.
Within 10 minutes of picking up the car from Decarie Motors, the roof was down (Khalil and Olivier who were behind me in a Bentayga are witnesses to my very John Rothman-Tourist-worthy action). So what was it like driving a Bentley Continental GT Convertible (GTC) in the middle of the winter? For someone like myself who is inspired by the ‘joie de vivre’ lifestyle that I see daily on Instagram from the big ski towns in the Alps (where $400,000+ convertibles with their top down is a rather normal sight to see), I truly felt like I was in Courchevel, France, heading to an après ski event in St-Mortiz, Switzerland (it also helped that the Spotify playlists I had on repeat for the day were St. Mortiz AM & PM – check it out, it’s a serious vibe).
All kidding aside, the cabin of the Bentley is such a pleasant place to be with layers of wood and leather throughout. Speaking of leather, the beautifully crafted, ventilated seats were equipped with the optional ‘Front Seat Comfort Specification’ that includes built-in neck warmers for front occupants. Speaking of tech, Bentley’s infotainment systems have always been one of my favorites in the industry as it is intuitive and simple, taking the best components from Porsche and Audi fused into one; this is a VW Group product after all. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, there’s nothing wrong with parts sharing – unless when it’s the spare key of a Bugatti Chiron which is the same key found in a 2012 VW Jetta… Anyways, Bentley, let’s circle back to Bentley.
After roughly 45 minutes of highway driving venturing off-Island to the West, again with the roof still down, I found myself on some of my favorite back roads that made for the perfect backdrop for my Swiss Alps-inspired day (minus the mountains, but hey, you get the point). The GTC I was driving was equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, that produces 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque and is capable of propelling this 5445.4-lb French-Riviera summer cruiser to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds.
Also to note, this was not my first time driving the latest generation Continental GT, however, it was my first time driving one in winter which really gave me an idea of how brilliant it handles all-year round. Compared to the last generation GT which had its chassis layout from large VW group sedans / SUVs, the latest Continental is on an entirely new platform that was co-developed with Porsche (again, great collab choice) resulting in significant proportion changes, having the engine placed further back and changing its all-wheel drive system. The majority of the roads I was driving on were relatively dry, though there were a few portions covered with fresh snow which the GTC majestically drove over.
As the day was coming to an end, I swapped vehicles with the guys and was now behind the wheel of the Bentayga as we headed back to Bentley Montreal. Throughout that drive, we ended up in a bit of traffic and it was hilarious to see people’s reactions as they ended up next to them, once again, with the roof down. I’ve been fortunate enough, and grateful for the automotive opportunities that I’ve experienced thus far, but that day was definitely a truly memorable one and gave me a small glimpse of what the Après-Ski lifestyle in the Alps is all about – only increasing my urge to one day visit; perhaps sooner rather than later for The Ice Moritz… time will tell. Until then, here’s to me raising my imaginary glass of Veuve Cliquot and cheers to more adventures to come “cin cin”!
Photography by Khalil Souilhi