In 2010, Secret Entourage was invited to test drive the new Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls Royce Ghost, which we liked but felt were a bit old for our taste since we are all under 30. This past month, the team at Euro Motorcars in Bethesda, MD asked us to come out and give them our perspective on an exclusive test drive of the upcoming 2012 Bentley GT. We remained a bit skeptical as the Bentleys have been known to be geared towards the older 50+ crowd but also known to lack all kinds of gadgets and features that are now even standard in a cheaper Toyota. None the less, they offered us a steak and the keys and told us to give it a shot…(Everyone knows, Don never turns down a good steak, or the keys to a 200K car :) ). Here is what we were surprised to find out…
The Continental GT has always been the sexier car of the Bentley line up with its two doors and hatch back end especially in its Super Sports trim level so we were curious on how Bentley was going to make this car any different without losing its existing customer base. We were surprised to find out that most of the car’s appealing lines were the same but werent at the same time. Its an interesting design as Bentley did not change the design of the car much but rather refined it from first impressions. It just looks the same but with more straight angles rather than rounded ones and same goes for the lights and grills. The reality however is that every panel is different from the prev generation but they are reconstructed to keep a familiar feeling. The results are a much wider looking car, which looks refined from every angle and really showcases its muscles through its upgraded and beautifully fitted set of 21″ sport wheels.
The interior on the other hand looks quite like the original GT but once again redefined a bit around the details like the steering wheel, control buttons and door panels giving the car a higher level of luxury than experienced before. The main improvement on the interior is the technology which is now on par with most Porsche and Lamborghini cars. You now get a full touch screen NAVI and radio unit with iPod capacity, hard drive and a series of other gizmos that were never available prev in other Bentleys. Even though technology is not the main reason one would buy a Bentley, it is nice to know your 200K + car can at least play an MP3.
The Drive, The Appeal and The Marquee: I have never personally been a huge fan of any Bentley for the same reason I wasn’t a fan of the Mulsanne we reviewed last year. The car simply doesn’t turn enough heads and certainly doesn’t cause people to take pictures every time they see you. The drive is smooth and beautiful and you can’t hear anything outside when all windows are up giving you an unparalleled level of comfort in a GT but the downfall is that even in sport mode, the responsiveness is not quite at the level of a basic sport car but is more like a nice CL63 AMG. The appeal is that you drive a car unlike any others on the road and that the Marquee once recognized does invoke power and wealth which is very important. The problem is that it takes people a moment to notice it which is great if that what you are looking for but not so great if you are trying to appeal to the under 40 crowd with this new fresher model. Overall, the new 2012 Bentley GT is a step in the right direction for Volkswagen Corp and its Bentley division. Its leaps ahead of the older one and much prettier and sportier which overall makes it a winner as log as massive crowd appeal is not what you are looking for.
A big thank you to our friends at Bentley/Rolls Royce of Bethesda, make sure to check them out online at www.euromotorcars.com