If you want to wake an entire Cotswold village at 6am then go buy a Bentley. Yes, if only it was that simple… A £138,000 alarm clock is way beyond the reach of most people but I can assure you, there’s no finer way to blow the cobwebs off daybreak.
I’ve just reluctantly handed the keys of the GTC back to the Bentley driver. And no, his job isn’t as great as it sounds because the car is ferried back to company HQ in Crewe on the back of a 13 ton lorry. At least he gets to drive it up the ramp…
Over the last few days I’ve been using the ‘sport’ setting, firmer up the suspension and seeing just what a two ton missile can do with 500+bhp under the bonnet. The GTC is not a sports car to be thrown around country lanes, it’s just too large for that. But for out and out performance, wow!
When you have a budget this large to spend, Ferrari, Porsche and all the rest of the super car marques come in to play. However, if you want something quintessentially British (OK, I know Bentley is now quintessentially German owned too!) the Continental is the only carriage you will ever need. Now, home James and don’t spare the horse…
The Continental hasn’t actually changed much design-wise since it was launched 11 years ago. I suppose that when most people think of a Bentley, they drift back in time anyway. Churchill, bulldogs and the thwack of leather on willow, was how one friend described it this weekend.
The V8 engine certainly barks into life when you press the start button on the centre console, there’s acres of leather in the cabin, and the adjustable front seats would even accommodation a portly Churchill. Not so sure he would have approved of air conditioned and heated chairs though, or ones that gently massage the occupant either.
But if we are talking about style, well, the Bentley isn’t everybody’s cup of Earl Grey. It’s squat, muscular and very wide, which gives more than hint of the mighty power plant under that long bonnet. And while it looks more macho than a bodybuilder’s mankini from the front, something has gone strangely awry with the rear.
Awry not wrong but the GTC certainly ain’t a beautiful sight from the back. The ‘flat’ styling looks as if this Bentley has been rammed into a brick wall at speed. And because the hood has to fold into a section directly in front of the boot lid, this is a car with a very large bottom indeed.
Let’s be sensible here. It may be pouring with rain all over England today but if you are a footballer considering a new Bentley convertible for the missus, the low cost option is the latest 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. No, really, if it makes you feel better, the ‘entry level’ GTC at £136,000 is most definitely the model to opt for.
Why? Well, although you can probably afford any car you want anyway, the V8 is far and away the cheapest to buy and run. And if you are planning to take it long distance for a weekend away, the 4.0 model will go considerably further on a single tank of fuel. Supposedly around 500 miles in total, although heavy use of the right foot will blow that figure away.
The GTC also has everything anybody could ever want in a car. All the obvious stuff, like sat nav, heated seats and cruise control of course, plus a few wonderful features to make you giggle. These include air conditioned seats, amazing noise insulation from the folding soft-top, plus a dashboard style to mirror the winged badge of Bentley itself. Brilliant.
Somehow, I have resisted the opportunity to drive the GTC today. Instead, I’ve been savouring the style of a great car, sitting in the driver’s seat and marvelling at the trim, and just inhaling the aroma of the cabin. Yep, you get all that with the Bentley before you even turn the key. What happens then? Find out tomorrow…