The Bentley is the only adult-sized four-seat GT of our three, as well as being the only truly luscious, luxurious, and effortless long-distance touring bike. What a cabin it has. Exceptionally comfortable, multi-adjustable seats sit in front of a tactile, seductive gloss work in the dashboard, which is provided with a solid feel and lavish equipment that make it an outstanding luxury provider in the country. The 22-inch alloy wheels on our test car made for a little louder highway driving than I would have liked, but it’s just the car’s remarkable refinement in a broader sense that draws your attention.
The Bentley is so comfortable, courteous and sovereign that, as one colleague put it, “you could just use it as if it were a Mk7 VW Golf R”. From a 2.2 ton exotic car valued at £ 166,000, that’s quite a statement. To imagine owning and using one is absurdly easy; and the simple enrichment of everyday life that you get from it would be something to enjoy.
However, the same tester also said that while enjoying the Continental, he didn’t get much more of it on a great Snowdonian mountain road than he would have expected from the aforementioned hot VW hatchback. Interesting observation that contains more than a grain of truth. The Continental is a pleasant, throbbing, powerful thing when it really starts, with a fairly superior and smooth handling. The finesse you feel from the weighty, perfectly tuned steering is striking and makes a large car surprisingly easy to drive.
But the Bentley is a big, heavy car that is often spread out over more than its share of a winding road. It can be absolutely enjoyed up to a point; especially where the lanes are wide and the curves are fast flowing. But it’s still not a car to jostle or thread in the way either the Ferrari or the Aston Martin can be. It just doesn’t have its dynamic duality.
The DB11 is a drifting car, if we’re on the subject, and the Roma is more like a threading car. The Aston has a much more traditional GT dynamic flavor. Even in its AMR performance-trimmed form, it’s pliable and a bit soft around the edges. It lowers one outer shoulder and takes a split second to react as it spins like a forward thrust in the back row attacking the line of defense.