The Unstately (But Remarkable) Performance of Bentley
The Bentley Motors Continental GT W12 does have a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine (think of two V6s side-by-side and consequently a much shorter block than would be the case with a V12) that produces 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. And that allows the vehicle to go from 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds and provides a top speed of 207 mph. There is a dual-clutch eight-speed, with maximum speed being achieved in 7th, with 8th being the overdrive gear for, as Bentley puts it, “relaxed cruising.” And the relaxed ride is facilitated by putting the Drive Dynamics Control setting in “Comfort” and taking full advantage of the air suspension system that is based on three-chamber air springs that provide 60 percent more air in the softest setting than was previously available.
And who can overlook the 20-way adjustable seats that are covered in the finest leather that not only features the well-known Bentley quilting pattern, but a new one, which is called “diamond-in-diamond” quilt. There are veritable slabs of exotic woods and finely machined aluminum on the center console. And speaking of machining, there is a new knurling design for the various rotary knobs found in the vehicle.
All of which is to say that when one thinks of driving a Bentley Continental GT W12, it is probably a stately drive with the occasional confident acceleration that propels the car forward without undue alacrity.
Of course, that is not the way that Rhys Millen drove a production Continental GT yesterday in Colorado. He went, shall we say, somewhat more briskly than would be the norm.
Because Millen was driving in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
And he, dare we say, smashed the record for a production car making its way up the 12.42-mile course that includes 156 turns and stars at 9,300 feet and has the checked flag at 14,100 ft, where the air is less available for thing like combustion than it is at sea level by about a third.
Millen drove the Continental GT to the finish in 10:18.488, or 8.4 seconds better than the existing record.
(To be fair, Bentley has had a storied history in motor racing. But still, this performance in a production car that would otherwise be parked in Grosvenor Square or thereabouts is nothing short of astonishing.)
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