Bentley Continental GT Speed

MEAN…GREEN…SWEEN

"Leave the car in 'comfort' mode and you'll be pampered like a baby."

"The exhaust note of the GT Speed is bound to make you sit in your garage and rev the engine from morning till night!"

"The GT Speed is meant to munch miles - I would say that in my short drive of around 400 km's the GT Speed gets full marks," said Ershad.

"21 inch wheels help to put all this power on the road, and yes, they look monstrous."

At every stoplight, I'm being gawked at. Admiration, amazement, envy…I can sense everything in those looks. These act as the catalysts to my dramatic start-offs whenever the light goes green. From the corner of my eye I can see similar expressions from neighbouring drivers whenever my throttle-happy evil side bubbles up in tunnels and underpasses. The whole process is so addictive that I'm actually praying for red lights and tunnels to show up all day. One of my best days ever? Probably…

The car I'm driving is the new Bentley GT Speed. I am enclosed in the best luxury parts that can fit inside a car: excellent leather-wrapped steering, sports seats finished in quilted leather, indented headrests and more. The plentiful leather splashed around the cabin lends a plush, cozy and luxurious feel to the interior. In front of the passenger seat is a section of dashboard finished in carbon-fiber look-alike material with the 'Speed' logo stuck on it. It reflects class; class is developed by heritage and Bentley has no shortage of heritage in terms of producing cars in their Crewe facility. The guys at Bentley have put a lot of work into getting the ergonomics of the car as perfect as possible. The result is that you feel at home as soon as you sit and grip the steering wheel. You feel good, in control. The knurled gear shifter lever feels so nice and heavy; why doesn't everyone make gear levers like this? The center console houses a nice analog clock and a touch screen infotainment system. The buttons and panels in the center console are finished in piano black texture, which goes along very well with the overall luxury offerings. All of the stitching in the car is in a shade of green. Green? That's interesting. Is it matching the car color or contrasting it? We will find out in a bit. As well, 'Speed' is embroidered on the seat headrests, in green as well.

Monikers like Speed, Turbo, GT, RS, S, etc. bring that sense of extreme sportiness even when we just talk about it. They are just plain exciting. The pedals are drilled alloy, which look right in place, and did I mention that even the floor carpets have green embroidery? Attention to detail is just the beginning. One thing worth mentioning is the seat design, which offers comfort and support in every possible dimension. Even though it's based on a coupe design, the Bentley can accommodate two full-sized adults in the rear seats with all luxuries and comfort. One interesting feature, though, was the seat belt access for the front passenger. An electronically- controlled arm automatically brings the seat belt end in a comfortable position for the passenger every time. Luxurious? Yes it is. Leave the car in 'comfort' mode and you'll be pampered like a baby.

I stop the car for refuelling and decide to take a peek into the engine bay. Beneath the bonnet is a W12, 6 liter, twin-turbocharged engine throwing out 626 hp and 820 Nm of torque. Those are some serious numbers. All this manic power is sent to all four wheels in a 60:40 rear biased drive system. A computer, according to the driving conditions, controls this power split between the front and rear axles. 21 inch wheels take care of putting all this power on the road, and yes, they look monstrous. Now let's see how the GT Speed drives around with all that power. Straight-line sprints form a part of the GT Speed's daily diet and you are never disappointed. The W12 has a powerful pull, but you have that occasional hesitation below 2000 rpm where you wait for the turbo to kick in. There isn't a humongous response delay, it is just me being picky. I am in a Bentley GT Speed - I can afford to be picky!

Weighing in at around 2.5 tons, the GT Speed is a heavy guy. This becomes evident the moment we decide to make sudden directional changes. The suspension settings and steering geometry does do their part, but it cannot hide the weight. Steering gives a very positive feedback across the speedometer numbers, which urge you to push the GT Speed to the limit. High-speed corners are handled confidently with apt control, into and out of the corner. The suspension is a bit too stiff for my liking; I would have preferred a slightly softer suspension for my daily runs. Bentley has actually stiffened up the anti-roll bars and suspension bushes for a more dynamic drive feel.

Acceleration is brisk considering the weight of the car, propelling the car from 0 to 100 in under 5 seconds. The exhaust note of the GT Speed is bound to make you sit in your garage and rev the engine from morning till night! There is something about this W12 engine that makes it sound so much better than the usual V8 soundtrack. The Bentley GT Speed is equipped with an 8 speed gearbox which seamlessly shifts between ratios, even in full automatic mode and 'comfort' setting, but is best enjoyed in 'sport' mode. Of course, you have the paddles to play around with if you feel like a race driver at any point. The GT Speed is meant to munch miles - I would say that in my short drive of around 400 km's the GT Speed gets full marks. But make sure that you take only one friend with you: guys sitting in the backseat will not enjoy the ride much.

The exterior of the GT Speed retains that ever-familiar Bentley family silhouette and characteristics. There have been minor tweaks on the front and rear spoilers for added aerodynamics. Minor styling updates have been done on the front and rear end of the car with cleaner lines and better overall appeal. Headlights and taillights have a tint on them, which helps provide a tuner car feel. The signature Bentley grille up front has also undergone slight design changes, and they also have a slight black tint on them. The brake callipers on the car are blacked out, with 'Bentley' written on them in white. Subtle changes like these can go a long way in improving the overall feel of the car.

Verdict
Returning to our discussion on people gawking at traffic signals and green stitching used in the car interior: yes, as you see in these pictures, we have a Bentley in 'apple green'. One bold move from the guys at Crewe, and it is absolutely stunning. I would have loved some black wheels to go along, but I don't mind these either! The Bentley GT Speed in its latest incarnation has been successful in holding onto Bentley tradition, as well as providing the same character in modern packaging.

Let's paint the roads green!

Pros: Exotically hooligan for Bentley (I mean the GREEN & torque), expected Bentley luxury inside.
Cons: Fuel economy  (as if we didn't expect that in a W12).
Rivals: Aston Martin Vanquish, Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe.
Engine: 6 liter twin-turbocharged engine, W12 cylinders, 626 hp @ 6000 rpm, 820 Nm @ 1700 rpm.
Transmission: 8 speed Auto, 4WD.
Performance: 0-100 km/h: 4.5 sec, 14.5 L /100 km, Top speed: 330 km/h.
Weight: 2370 - 2395 kg.
4 STARS
One word: Over-the-top.

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