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Bentley Continental GT


Every now and then a man is forced to look at his actions and ask himself the simple question…‘Is this who I want to be?’

Or, if you are slightly more au fait with the kids you may be inclined to ask yourself, ‘Am I That Guy?’

Say what you will about The Youth with their baffling love of nitrous oxide, banal social-media activism and ironic rockstar politicians but they do, occasionally at least, possess a lovely turn of phrase.

The first question carries a sense of open possibility and moral neutrality, the notion that all contingencies are valid as long as you yourself have the stomach to accept them – it’s the satisfied introspective process of somebody who is ultimately going to end up finding a way of justifying their findings. The concept of ‘That Guy’ takes such wooly, self-indulgence out back, makes it take off its clothes for no reason and shoots it in the face.

‘That Guy’ sucks and everyone knows it. Everyone avoids ‘That Guy’ like the plague. The problem is that ‘That Guy’ is a friend, he’s at the same parties, occasionally helps you move house, once lent you a tenner in the pub. So you inevitably feel bad raising an eyebrow behind his back. But, well, he’s ‘That Guy.’ I mean come on…

But the biggest problem of all is that anyone can inadvertently stray into becoming ‘That Guy’ if their guard drops for a moment. And if it is you that does you can rest assured that everyone else in the worlds know way before you’ve had time to check yourself. Constant vigilance is the price of Non-Douchebag status.

Via a long and winding road

Which is how we arrive at the Bentley Continental GT V8s. Let’s be honest, you know what’s coming. Frankly, there is a certain type of person for whom we all think the Bentley was conceived. ‘That Guy’- rich, fat, charmless, vainglorious and blissfully unaware of their essential silliness in the eyes of the rest of Society. That’s just the owner of the W12 engine variant. What kind of fool would want the cheaper, fewer cylindered V8s? That would be for a kind of tragic proto-blowhard actually aspiring to be Cock of The Nineteenth Hole?

The dawning realisation

But then your demonstration vehicle arrives on the driveway and you amble outside, coffee in hand for a closer inspection of what you are letting yourself in for.

Suddenly, you’re forced to reappraise the belief you formed by a strange jealous osmosis sometime in the early 2000s. The belief that the Continental GT is an abomination not fit to be referred to in the same breath as proper performance cars. This thing is genuinely beautiful in the way that those huge horsey people in the Cotswolds are.

Yes, it’s sturdy and yes, it’s square-jawed and broad-shouldered. But you can’t stop looking at it… because you know that all that substance and gloss is a great big sign screaming, ‘We’re going to have a lot of fun once we’re on our own.’

And have fun you do, from the minute you fire up the 4 litre V8 lump under the hood. Press the elegantly typeset start button and feel the 520 horses prodded into burbling readiness.

Switch to Sport Mode on the highly intuitive driver interface, set the dampers to Idiocy and off you go like Mister Toad popping and crackling your way to 62mph in a little under 4.7 seconds.

0 - 60MPH
Figures shown are for the Bentley Continental GT V8s

To Hell with it

4.7 seconds whilst cocooned in the automotive interior equivalent of a flamboyant pirate’s leather doublet. A never ending checker-pattern sacrifice of animal derma wrapping around you as you hurtle through the countryside. Many things had to die for you to feel like this – for you to feel like ‘That Guy’. Animals, exotic trees and possibly human beings down the chrome mines. But as you look around you, gently coaxing the accelerator and working through the eight speed automatic gear box, you realise that you are OK with that.

You are ‘That Guy’ and everyone else can take a running jump. You’ve moved on and your new mantra is ‘Its not me, its you.’