I’ll let you on a dirty little secret: I have a thing for driving GTs in the countryside and I think you should too.
My definition of a great GT car is one that makes you feel as if you’re driving a private jet on the road. In essence: Effortless speed in sumptuous comfort. A tall order for most but a staple tradition for Bentley since long before you or I existed. Bentley has carried their excellence in design, quality and performance throughout their range of cars in their own individual way but this, the third generation of the Continental GT is the epitome of the Grand Touring class.
Here is a 626bhp W12 engine mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission and four-wheel drive that pushes it from 0-60mph in 3.7s – despite it weighing 2.4 tonnes! It achieves this without breaking a sweat while it indulges you with a full back massage with the roof down.
When living in London with the GTC you feel the constant urge to get out of the city as far and as quickly as possible which is exactly what I did.
Packed up with my girlfriend and the dog and we made our way down to Hampshire and Dorset for a long weekend. Along the way, the car turned many heads (animals included). The engine note has a beautiful duality to it: blissfully quiet but a ravaging brute when you wish it to be. The sensation of speed is dampened by mass and refinement. As the car drove through the muddy, slick country roads of Dorset not once did I feel unsafe or at risk of losing control – allowing us to soak in the serene backdrop without worry. This is a testament to the four-wheel-drive that gives a huge hand in making the car much nimbler than its size and weight would suggest. The lane guidance and adaptive cruise control combined with all the creature comforts make you feel refreshed at the end of a long motorway journey.
When the sun came up – the roof went down. Cruising along muddy lanes lined with tall trees one minute then looking out across expansive fields and meadows the next. My appreciation for the countryside really grew during this trip. The Bentley glided down the winding roads with ease. It was a perfect match for the scenery with its forest green paint. The cosiest companion for a wintery weekend away.
The New Forest has everything to offer for a romantic escape while testing out a new car. Roads were clean and not too crowded except horses, cows and donkeys walking around. From the Tall trees walk to the charming Lymington villages life feels relaxed, lighter and slower.
As someone who has driven a fair share of Bentleys historical cars, I can see and feel the connection between the GTC and its ancestors. It is one of those rare cars that can be packed with all the latest technology all while still retaining essence of a Bentley Grand Tourer.
This gives me great confidence that Bentley are well equipped to retain the same driving experience in a more sustainability-focused future which they are investing in heavily – and if the Bentley EXP 100 GT is anything to go by, I am very excited for the future of the brand.