The Breitling clock, the quilted leather seats… there’s no doubt the interior of the GT Speed is more like a gentlemen’s club than the cabin of a car. But what about the exterior?
A friend of mine is ‘freaked out’ by the front end. She says the big, round headlights remind her of a spider – and that’s not a good thing.
I find the rear end slightly more troubling. It’s that lip spoiler that distorts the smooth flow of the boot line.
There’s a new, hidden spoiler, that only pops out at high speed on 2016 model year Speeds. I would have thought that was enough to keep the GT on the road at 200mph?
Either way, the back of the Continental isn’t the prettiest. I’ve never seen the back end of a spider close up but perhaps there is a similarity…
The acoustic exhaust system is a modern phenomenon. A button that opens valves in the exhaust pipes for dramatic effect is an option on most top end cars, from Porsche to Maserati.
Bentley is no different – although it’s nothing quite so vulgar. For the full effect you just press the ‘sport’ button and let your Continental growl and guffaw at pedestrians.
And of all the supercars we’ve driven here at Car Couture, the Bentley is by far the most pleasing on the ear.
AA Gill once labelled it as sounding like ‘two Lesbians, moaning in a bucket’. I think it’s more like a Spitfire at low revs and low level.
To be honest, it’s the finest sound I’ve heard from any car. It’s not a spit and a cackle, like the Jaguar F-Type, but a monumental groan on a W12 engine flexing its muscles. Wow…
Four days in to the Bentley and I’m starting to appreciate a whopping engine and tons of road presence. That’s about 2.3 tons – but enough grunt from that huge engine to scare the pats off passengers.
It’s surprisingly agile despite the weight and I guarantee your nerve will go before the Bentley squeaks. Driving a left hand-drive car on British roads can be interesting at times but in a Bentley, it’s sure to keep any driver on his toes.
Issues? Well, of course. There is no USB socket! Quite incredible when you consider the rest of the technology on board.
Plus the boot and fuel filler buttons on the driver’s door look just the same as the four window buttons. Consequently, you will open the boot at an inappropriate moment without warning.
The sat nav works fine but it feels and looks a little dated, while there’s a slight vibration from the dashboard when the car is engaged in ‘sport’ mode and the tailpipes really grumble.
Otherwise, this is one hell of a car! More tomorrow…
If you need to impress somebody at a petrolhead dinner party try this – I drive the fastest Bentley money can buy. Driving any Bentley would be cool enough but the 12-cylinder GT Speed is the big daddy.
There are a brace of twin-turbo V8s that skip along at a fair old lick and then a pair of 626bhp W12s in the regular GT and the Speed. The latter is baiting the neighbours outside my house as I scribble this.
Such a hefty lump will power the 2,400kg to 60mhp in 4 seconds. That’s like fitting a supercharger to an aircraft carrier.
And I don’t want to bang on about this too much but the GT is seriously big car. Our Candy Red test car is left hand drive for some reason – which makes it feel even bigger as I squeeze down a country lane.
Whether you think the Continental has become a little ‘footballer’s wives’ in recent years or got, it is one seriously pretty car.
More on Sunday when the WAG’s on board…
Is there a mid-life crisis going on at Car Couture? I’ve actually been considering a red sports car, then last month I bought a Belstaff leather jacket and now, to cap it all, I’m thinking the Golf R needs a bit more razzamatazz.
It’s not the performance – this is a hot hatchback like no other. No, it’s the rather bland styling and soul-less profile that welcomes me to the driveway every morning.
Of course, the Golf GTI was never a stand-out model in the car park. You can leave that naff bling to Renault and Ford with their offerings. But even so, there’s no much to excite the eye with the R.
Apart from the lack of leather seats as standard (surely at this price?), it’s the only fault I have with the R.
A truly brilliant 5-door that does nothing to announce your arrival but gets you there and back in thoroughly entertaining style…
I’ve grown up with the Volkswagen Golf – it’s not quite as old as me but I can remember when the first ‘German hatchback’ arrived back in 1974. It was named the Rabbit in America. Weird.
The Golf arrived in November, the month John Lennon played on stage with Elton John in New York and the Rubik’s Cube was first invented. Somebody had also dreamt up a game called Dungeons & Dragons…
Those early Mk I Golfs are now collector’s items and the R we’re driving this week is destined to be the same. It has cult status written all over it – backed up by the tag of the fastest ever Golf.
If you are saving up for a GTI my advice is save a bit longer and get the R. Few cars are guaranteed to have such a following in the future…
It’s called mood lighting. I still think Range Rover do it best – flashing a circle of light from underneath the door mirror onto the ground when you click the key fob. On the road it reads ‘Range Rover’. Cool.
Most mood lighting takes place inside the cabin though. Volkswagen has equipped the R with a vibrant blue strip along the kick plate as you step in – plus the same across the top of the door.
I’m all for mood lighting (in the Beetle, the colours can be changed depending on your ‘mood’ with a rotating dial) but it’s a bit bling if you like your Golf to be low key and ‘under the wire’.
And nobody buys a Golf to make a big statement, do they? Even the R is the most underplayed, hot hatchback you can buy. Consider what Renault has done to the Megane RS 265 for example – eek!
A friend of mine collects Mark I Golf convertibles in France – he has five stored in his barn. Over the years, the following six incarnations have brought us to this version.
Just like the Porsche 911, there have been good and bad models (996? Eeek!) but the Golf has generally been regarded as the benchmark hatchback for some 40 years now.
So as my friend begins August at his local car rally (the French like old cars as much as we do), he’ll no doubt be reading this and considering the R as the future classic Golf to buy and collect.
And because the fastest Golf ever is the R, this immediately gives it cult status. Over the next 20 years, the secondhand price of the R will dip like any other vehicle. But in 2035, this hatchback is going to be a classic.
If we can still buy petrol by then, this will likely also be considered as the finest ever hatchback…