Sublime experience

Sublime experience

ITPS’s Michael Jopling is seduced by the style, sophistication and sheer excellence of Bentley’s Continental GTC.

ne3 main2My passion for cars is reflected in the history of my personal collection, which includes my current Audi S8 and past purchases of a BMW M3 and an Audi TT.

While I am only prepared to go back as far the Audi TT for fear of showing my age, being asked to test drive a Bentley Continental GTC gave me a fantastic opportunity to put my knowledge of cars to the test and enjoy a piece of sheer luxury.

As I cruised through Newcastle city centre, I think I disappointed the many spectators expecting to see a premiership footballer, but I was totally focused on the driving experience.

Then my journey took me out to the open roads of the North East, where the real test drive began and where I will start by stating the obvious; I was driving a Bentley Continental GTC! The looks and style of the car speak for themselves, the cabin interior in particular reflecting what everyone loves about Bentley design.

The cockpit is highly technical, but not overwhelming; it’s simply functional and very easy to use. I’ve read numerous reviews about this car and Bentley’s focus on the roof design, which involved a complete redesign of the rearsuspension from the GT coupe to GTC.

The challenge was to eradicate the scuttle shake, and I’m confident in saying that I think the team at Bentley got it right.

My only criticism would be that the rear seat space could be more generous, as four adults would struggle to travel comfortably for any length of time. Having said that, I am convinced young children would be fine. I also feel the need to make an important point at this stage for those keen golfers out there, who will be relieved to learn that the boot space will accommodate a set of golf clubs perfectly.

With statistics of 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds, a topless top speed of 190mph and a massive V12 engine, it’s hard to believe that you’re not driving a sports car.

These figures outperform the BMW M3 and Audi S8, even with the top down. The engine has a certain roar, so even with your eyes closed you know there is an extreme amount of power behind this car. The handling is agile and seamless for a car of its size and weight and the continuous all wheel drive is excellent when cornering hard. The drive overall is also smooth and polished. The Bentley Continental GTC is top of its class in terms of luxury, performance and price, but it really accelerates to a new level when driving with the top down.

It’s an amazing piece of engineering and ticks so many boxes beyond the needs of a car lover that it is also a declaration of style and sophistication.

The price tag of £130,000 is substantial in anyone’s language, but I think you do have to look beyond the price and focus on the Bentley design and performance. Overall, I set out on this experience with extremely high expectations and feared I might be disappointed. So believe me when I say that my enthusiasm and total excitement towards this car is hard to put into words.

Michael Jopling, FD of IT Professional Services Ltd, test drove a Bentley Continental GTC, list price £132,500, provided by Bentley Newcastle, Elliot House, Silverlink, Wallsend, NE28 9ND, tel 0191 259 8155, website: