Bentley Continental GT long-term test review
I’ve often thought that even for the rich and famous — let alone the humble scribbler — there’s a price cut-off where a car’s value damages its usability.
If it’s not fear of kerbing a £1500 alloy that reduces your interest in driving in town, it’s the fact that your money has bought a car of such bulk that it’s simply easier to go in a Golf.
Which is where, I’ve realised as the miles keep rising, our Bentley Continental GT breaks all the rules.
The new price of £125,000 has, admittedly, been reduced to £85,000 by our car’s age and mileage, but there are other things that work in its favour.
Number one is the relative lack of bulk; it’s big enough to be imposing but small enough to be happy in a supermarket car park.
Number two for me is the low-speed, air-suspended ride.
Most cars with 190mph top speeds are spoiled at low speeds by the stiff bushes and suspension rates they need for stability beyond three miles a minute.
Next is visibility: the Conti looks sleek but you still sit higher than in other 500bhp cars, and feeding off that is the ease of entry and exit.
If you use a car a lot, you soon get heartily sick of having to make balletic movements to get behind the wheel.
Finally, there’s the size of the boot, which has enough space for three or even four people’s weekend luggage.
Result? There’s never a downside to taking the Bentley. Know what else I’ve discovered? That you need to take inordinate trouble to keep this car clean.
Other expensive cars live more of their lives in garages, being used only in fair weather.
But the Bentley regularly gets dirty. Luckily, I’ve found that even if there isn’t a convenient hand wash nearby, the sleek lines make the Conti easier than most to wash and there isn’t such a huge body acreage that it becomes a real chore.
Which leaves just one concern: keeping the striking 21in ‘Elegant’ alloys pristine.
So far we’ve kept them away from kerbs (precise steering and decent visibility helps), but their condition constitutes the major concern.
Other than that, ‘owning’ this car is simply a breeze.