Regular readers will know I have a tendency to bang on a lot, and my features are wordy as a result. Consequently, it can take a while for me to get around to writing them. Take crankandpiston’s drive of the Bentley Continental GT Speed. It’s a feature I’ve been meaning to get round to for an embarrassingly long time but has instead been nestling on the backburner due to one thing or another.
But this afternoon I figured, what’s stopping me? Let’s be honest, none of you give a monkey where the air conditioning button is on the centre console relative to the seat massagers. The key question, does it go like stink and does it handle like a blancmange?
For an in-depth analysis of the model, you can check out Phill’s feature from the international launch. For more outstanding images, you can check out Wouter Kingma’s article HERE. For a few thoughts following an afternoon of hooning around with a twin-turbo engine that made me lose even more hair, you can check this out…
Looks: …like a Continental, that’s to say ‘Noice’! Cruise by in your Ray Bans and a fresh haircut, and your neighbours will be both envious and silently resenting you. In short, winning. Next…
Acceleration: Nail the loud pedal to the plush carpet and you’ll find the 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 under the bonnet – which kicks out a ludicrous 616bhp and 590lb ft of torque – will smash you in the stomach before you have a chance to draw breath. For a big heavy luxury coupe (as we found out on the factory tour, those wood trim panels aren’t light, you know), the GT Speed can certainly shift. To give you an idea, 0-100kph is nailed in 4.2 seconds and the top speed is 330kph: that’s the same as the new Aston Martin V12 Vantage. Suffice to say we found a long (and empty) stretch of road for our thrash.
Steering: The power steering helps but there’s still a sizeable amount of heft in the steering column, so don’t think your valet parking favourite will make life easy. Saying that, there’s enormous amounts of grip through the 21-inch wheels to keep you nicely connected to the front wheels. Throw 2320kg at a corner and the front will wash, but then we’re hardly expecting Radical-esque cornering capabilities here. The rear spoiler – finished in carbon fibre – doesn’t really help either. It raises automatically at 120kph and lowers when you drop below third gear. It won’t lasso 2300-plus of mass under control and doesn’t particularly mesh well with the gorgeous-ness-ness of the Continental. So what’s the point?
Gear changes: I’m still in two minds about Bentley’s steering column-mounted paddle shifters. Their position means you can only use them with your fingertips and they don’t follow the direction of the wheel. Saying that, knock the eight-speed ZF transmission into Sport and you’ll find the upshifts are pretty sprightly. Coupled with vision-impairing bursts of acceleration, you’d be surprised how quickly this barge hits the horizon, or how quickly the photographer sitting in the passenger seat reaches for his seatbelt.
Braking: Ever tried bringing 2320kg to a standstill quickly from 120kph? Your heart will jump into your mouth a couple of times, despite the effectiveness of the Carbon Sillicon Carbide brakes. There’s feel, but not much travel in the wheel, and you’ll really want to step on the pedal with both feet to throw the anchors out.
Comfort: Checklist – seat massagers and ventilators? Multi-link suspension? Low wind and noise levels? A throaty roar from the exhausts? Yep, yep and yep. Once you’re done hooning like a prat, you might enjoy sinking into the leather armchairs and enjoying the ride. It’s comfy. It’s luxury. It’s Bentley. What exactly were you expecting?
Will it sell?: It looks good. It rides well. It’s beautifully put together. It accelerates like an animal and stops like a runaway bull. It’s very entertaining to razz on your day off. It’ll put your neighbours into a stupor when they see their bank balance. It’ll impress your mother, and your father will want to nick it. It’ll eat your wallet inside out with Super-grade fuel bills and cost half your mortgage payments when some pillock dinks the door panel. It won’t out-corner a BMW M3 or a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, it’s too heavy. It’ll relieve you of at least $215,000.
But it’s the fastest road-going Bentley ever produced. And this is the Middle East, where everything is a statement. Yeah, we’re pretty sure it’ll sell.
Oh, and it goes like stink. Did I forget to mention that?
- Sorry it took so long Bentley. Enjoy the pics though. James even summoned a dust cloud.