In this year’s Best of the Best, we honour the brands and people behind the most covetable products. Here, we honour the Bentley Continental GT Speed, a true Grand Tourer in our books
There is an argument to be made that the Bentley Continental GT is one of the only (the only?) true Grand Tourers left on the market. The term is often used as shorthand for a high-performance car with a large and powerful engine at the front, or for a vehicle that can effortlessly take its driver across long distances in comfort and style. Well, many purported GTs may be wondrous machines, but the lack of luggage space, low rooflines and stiff seats put the reality of cross-country trips in doubt—and demand far too much from the knees when it is time to get out.
This is not the case with the Bentley Continental GT, which may be high-performance but is distinctly not a sports car. Even the Speed variant, which is probably the marque’s most aggressive road car, makes no pretence of that. Although its turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine may have an edge to its roar, its function is not to fling it around the track but to provide effortless, near-unlimited pull to take advantage of empty highways. The plush interior, combined with cleverness from the electronic limited-slip differential, electronic anti-roll system and all-wheel steering, makes comfort a breeze. And as for style—well, just look at it.