It was Edinburgh’s finest story-teller RL Stevenson (sorry JK) who penned the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde while recuperating in Bournemouth.
He had a wonderful fascination with personalities and the battle of good versus bad – or sedate versus rip-roaring. He could have no idea that he might be referring to a rather fine motor car, indeed the Bentley GT W12 Speed. I’m sure these car-making craftsmen from Crewe won’t mind me going all literate about this supercar.
When I picked it up in Edinburgh, it looked great: a gleaming machine glistening in the late summer sunshine.
It is something that always attracts admiring glances, stares even. Inside, it has the classic-style Bentley trim, coupled with modern touches – a great sound system, touch screen media, touch button start and stop. The seats are comfortable and the leather finish is, as expected, high quality.
I wanted to see how the Bentley performed in a busy city environment. Would it be too big to handle in the busier thoroughfares? Around town it was surprisingly easy to drive.
The automatic transmission is comfortable at low speeds and stopping and starting. The steering is highly reactive but, overall, it doesn't particularly excite you doing this stuff around town.
A car that might have suited the refined and sociable Dr Henry Jekyll, had he lived in the motor car age, needed a bit of pushing.
Out on the open road, it literally transforms into a completely different beast. Firstly the sound. When you put your foot down to accelerate the whole engine sound roars into life. The change from a big gentle giant into a growling lion is quite remarkable.
This surely is the automotive equivalent of Mr Edward Hyde. I could feel his malign spirit in the passenger seat, egging me on to go faster. There is a massive kick as you push down the accelerator and you get slammed back into the seat as it roars off at a sport car type speed. Hitting 70 mph in a few seconds on an open stretch of motorway is exhilarating. What a wonderful experience! The Bentley has a split personality – and one that really makes it fun to drive.
Of course, you need to have a few extra quid to own a Bentley. There isn’t much change from £130,000 for such as supercar with its handcrafted luxury.
My advice if you do get one of these luxury cars, is don't just parade it around town, get out, drive it full on and feel that acceleration. Yes, be Dr Jekyll in the city, but try a touch of Mr Hyde too.
Martin Ewart, a former managing director of Logica, is an IT executive who has had significant success in transforming and growing businesses. His focus is on helping clients secure their business goals through creating high performing teams. He is a specialist focusing on building aligned strategic relationships in large outsourcing deals between client and vendors.
The car Martin drove was the Bentley GT W12 Speed, OTR £163,500.
Car supplied by Bentley Edinburgh, 8 Whitehill Road, Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh, EH15 3HR, 0131 475 2100