Portrait of a Supercar: 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed

Once and long ago, in far more royal times than these, you could tell a lot about a monarch by his crown. It was emblematic of his majesty’s wealth and power as well as a symbol of his rule. It was also an indicator of the state’s stability. You might consider me a descendant of such regality. And actually, I have both the crown and the pedigree to prove it.

My lineage is bejeweled with five Le Mans wins. Speed is my trim (that’s the “might” part). I’m packing 616 horsepower in the hearty W-12 engine beneath my shield—nearly 50 horses more than the standard GT. Other sports cars may have as much power, and they too can take you to 100mph in less than 10 seconds, but you’d feel every pebble passing beneath their carriages. Within my conveyance, you would be neatly, comfortably secured. Nearly every soft surface in my cabin is hand-stitched leather and my seats and door panels are quilt-stitched for added style and supple cushioning.

Base Price: $238,000image

There is enough luxury crafstmanship and technology within my realm that you may never head home (this is the “right” part).

Let us charge north on the New York State Thruway while everyone is fighting to get to the beach so we can both fully appreciate my newly anointed status in the 200-mph club. I’m prime to take on the curves and hills that make up “God’s country” and I’m happy to let you work through my eight-gear transmission manually, though I’d rather take control in automatic mode. I like doing the talking. Speaking of which, unlike the loud convertibles of your college days, my ragtop is engineered to keep my cabin whisper quiet at all speeds. The only noises you’ll hear are the purr of my engine and whatever sound you call forth from my $7,300 Naim audio system. Music and wide-open roadways combine to help you reach the trance-like state you’ve been yearning for. My British makers divined me the fastest four-seat convertible on the American roadway—even with my top down and the added wind resistance we’ll reach those 200 mph speeds.

imageReady for action? Perhaps we should whizz and whurr our way down through the Catskill Mountains to Manhattan for the night. Besides, I’m thirsty. Though my tank is a hearty 24 gallons, I need a drink. You didn’t buy me for fuel economy, after all. And I’m really a city guy. You wouldn’t know it by the way I negotiated those turns, but my suspension and hefty 5,500-pound curb weight is really more conducive to handling the culture of the city grid.

We’ve cruised through the Bronx and those familiar blueish lights from the Triborough Bridge (always Triborough, never RFK) are shining on the horizon. This is the moment when my plush interior and my stout engineering come together: It’s time to adjust my suspension. Touch and drag the slider bar on my LCD screen and move my suspension from stiffer sport mode to spongy, supreme comfort. Manhattan is a sea of ruts and potholes this time of year and in this shock setting, you won’t feel one of them. Don’t worry, my 21-inch wheels will aid in balancing the uneven pavement and the front to back weight equity.

As we float along our subjects will most likely not notice my dark underbelly; the lower air intakes and exhaust points are a more subtle hue then my body. They’ll be baffled by my enigmatic, seven-spoke rims that appear to spin backwards in the city lights. The Makers did this to convey a princely, but still threatening, hovering quality I possess. Alas, these are just a few keystrokes befitting my crown…And what of that coronet? My unmistakably Bentley honeycomb grill with vintage, 1940s-era round headlamps is square against the quest. Most regal, I know.

6.0L twin-turbo W-12
0-60 in 4.1 seconds
Max Speed: 202mph
Max Power: 616hp @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque: 590lb-ft @ 2000 rpm