Car that made even me look (a bit) cool
WHILE daydreaming about winning the lottery – as we all do – I have always had an Aston Martin top of the wish list… but after a week with our latest test car I may have just changed my mind.
Mind you – it would take a lottery win for most of us to be able to buy a Bentley Continental GT Speed as the basic price is £168,300... and our test car with ‘Spectre’ paintwork and ‘Beluga’ hide interior had a lengthy options list which pushed that up to £199,155 on the road.
Updated last year with an even more sumptuous interior leather, dashboard revisions, a tweaked ‘more corporate Bentley’ front end and power pop-up rear spoiler, the GT Speed remains the most powerful, luxurious and fastest (top speed 206mph) Bentley ever.
Engineers have also managed to get a few more horses from its 6.0 litre, twin turbo W12 engine, which now puts out 626bhp and can hurl the 2.7-tonne car from 0 to 60mph in just four seconds – true supercar territory.
The power in this car is just brutal when you are brave enough to plant the go pedal into the luxury carpeting… yet at normal speeds it is as easy to drive as a big Merc or Jag.
Bentleys have always been cool, despite the best efforts of some Premiership footballing owners (anyone remember the camouflage paintwork on Mario Balotelli’s Continental GT?), and were driven by the likes of James Bond in the original Ian Fleming books and that 1960s super-cool TV Avenger, John Steed.
And this one managed to make yours truly look a bit cool… even when I was not behind the wheel.
During a quick trip up to a ‘sleepy hollow’ known as Knott End (just over the river from Fleetwood) to take an old pal out for a (in my case) non-alcoholic drink we went into an old ‘stomping ground’ boozer and bumped into someone I had not seen for over 40 years.
After initial pleasantries she halfjokingly enquired whether the brand new Bentley in the small car park outside – otherwise filled with farmers’ old bangers – was mine and on being told it was she was unable to stop herself blurting out an unprintable response at the top of her voice!
After that the whole pub knew whose car it was… although I did eventually confess that I only had in on loan.
That’s the kind of reaction this flying armchair gets wherever you go – even demure colleagues who have never shown any interest in the cars I have tested before were asking to be taken for a ‘spin around the block’.
Well it truly is a fabulous machine which, to a large extent, justifies that fabulous price tag. Every luxury from adaptive cruise control to heated and cooled massage memory seats in the finest, cross stitched leather are there.
But to hold its own against other supercars the GT Speed needs those performance credentials, which is why you can adjust things like damper stiffness and ride height at the flick of a switch while on the move. Our test car even had optional carbon ceramic brakes which added £10,825 to that final price tag... but really can stop the big brute in its tracks.
The tech spec is also truly impressive – 626bhp from that glorious W12 engine. When you fire it up the car automatically gives a little blip of throttle, rattling nearby windows and letting everyone know that it really is the business in the go department.
And top marks, surprisingly, for Bentley in the fuel consumption stakes too. Yes this car is not going to be economical – the manufacturer claims 27.4mpg extra urban, 13 urban and 19.3 combined… and I managed 18.5 overall during a week of very varied driving so, unlike a lot of other car makers, those quoted figures are realistic… although I suspect people who buy this kind of car don’t even know, or care about, the price of a litre of super unleaded.
So I now have a lottery dilemma… let’s hope it’s a decision I have to make in the not too distant future.