There we were, scrolling through iPhoto trying to decide which of the many thousands of photos that I've taken over the years to include in a new and upcoming section. Suddenly, Muddy Madam became transfixed over the red Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible that we both drove during the 2014 SMMT day at Wetherby race course.
“Have you written an article on it yet?” She asked. “No, only a brief description.” I answered. “Well, I think you should get a move on and write one” she retorted. That was me told.
Ever since Muddy Madam first set eyes on Bentley's Continental she's been in love. "That's my car!" she'd exclaim whenever she saw one on TV or in the flesh, so when she learnt that 2 versions were going to be at Wetherby, well excited would be an understatement.
During the morning we drove the traditional 4x4's like Jeeps, Range Rovers and so, but after lunch it was time to try out the Bentley. Trying our best not to appear too eager, we approached the PR guys and casually asked for the key to the red convertible. "Yeah sure, here you go." It was that simple. Muddy Madam was beginning to fidget with anticipation, and grinning like the Cheshire cat.
After settling into the armchair-like leather seats I pressed the start button and was treated to a confident rumble from the V8. I lowered the roof.........because I could.
I have to confess at this point that earlier on in the year I'd driven a V8 hardtop around the Hill Route at Millbrook, so I knew exactly how fast they are. As I reached the 500 yard private lane that leads to the main road I noticed that it was devoid of anything except fresh air, and I floored the accelerator. The Bentley’s bonnet rose slightly and the roar from the 4.0-litre twin turbo was simply epic. The reason for my risk assessed recklessness was to see Muddy Madams face - it was a picture, and her language was, well, x-rated!
Turning onto the B1224, I obviously kept to a more sensible driving speed, and although it wasn’t the nicest of days weather-wise, we still opted to keep the roof down as the heaters in the seats blew warm air at us from behind and kept us nice and toasty.
The Continental has this crazy party trick that makes any road feel like a snooker table, and glides you along with a muted rumble from somewhere up front. You do get adjustable air suspension that offers all-manner of different rides, but we didn’t have time to play with that, in fact we were only out for 1/2 hour, but we did get the opportunity to drive a variety of different roads. I have to admit that once in a while, when safe to do so, I slowed right down and accelerated hard just to hear that intoxicating roar. I may be 49, but I've got a great relationship with my inner child!
Even though it’s Muddy Madam's lottery-win car, she chose not to drive on the open roads around Wetherby, but on the private grounds of the race course when we were taking the photos, she wouldn’t be budged from the driving seat.
520bhp and 680Nm of torque coupled to the permanent all-wheel drive system makes for an exciting combination, especially when you consider that it’ll reach 62mph in just 4.7 seconds, and if the road will allow, up to 191mph. If I had to find a word to describe the acceleration it would be relentless, and a little bit scary!
I’m sure it had it’s faults, minute and unimportant ones, but we didn’t notice any, because for 30 minutes on a grey and chilly late September afternoon, our senses were working overtime and we were in awe at driving this wonderful machine.
As fast and as brutal as it is, the Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible isn't a sports car, it is, as its name suggests, an exhilarating Grand Tourer, and once you've driven one, no matter how short the drive, the experience will stay with you forever.