It’s an imposing car, the Bentley Continental GT Speed. It’s not as physically big as you think, but it’s low and broad-shouldered and solid. You wouldn’t want to get into a fight with it.
Getting in does nothing to lessen the impact. The door closes with the most solid ‘thunk’ I’ve ever heard, and the interior is a thing of wondrous quality and luxury. The design may be conservative and the infotainment not up to the standards of Mercedes or BMW systems, but it feels so special that you really don’t care.
With my picky back, I’ve rarely found a car seat so comfortable; on it’s huge wheels and firm suspension, the Speed’s ride is undoubtedly firm, but only the biggest thumps make themselves known in the cabin. Body control is astonishing for something so heavy which, combined with the absolute security of the four-wheel-drive system, gives you the confidence to push harder and harder.
There’s no escaping the weight though, and it doesn’t really respond at all to being flung around. Better to build a smooth rhythm at which point the GT Speed is very possibly the fastest point-to-point car on the planet. It’s not the most thrilling way to drive, but you can always marvel at the sheer power of the thing.
Even with 2.3 tons to lug around, the effect of the twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 engine’s 642bhp and 620lb/ft of torque is downright hilarious at full noise. Even a half-throttle lunge from 10mph to 30mph is thoroughly amusing. There’s little sensation of speed through the double glazing, but the sheer forces involved make it clear what’s going on, as does the deep, throaty roar from the exhaust. Just try not to think about the fuel consumption.
Other ultra-fast, ultra-luxurious GTs are better at fanging down a back road, but if you can afford one of these you’ve probably got at least a Porsche 911 in the garage to do that job. For getting from A to B in style and utter luxury at 200mph – where speed limits allow, of course – I really can’t think of anything better.
Bentley Continental GT Speed
Engine: 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbo petrol
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic; four-wheel-drive
Power/Torque: 642bhp; 620lb/ft
Economy/Emissions: 19.5mpg; 338g/km
Top speed: 206mph
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By Only Motors
- Point-to-point speed
- Utterly luxurious
- Cheaper than its rivals
- Not that involving
- Rear seats a little cramped
- Heavy fuel consumption