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Bentley, thy name is Speed

3 years ago

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Henry Catchpole | Journalist


25 September 2021

Munich. Midnight. My fingertips are black with brake dust as I crouch next to a huge 21-inch wheel. The sound of sparse but swiftly moving traffic is punctuated by the brrrrrrrrrr of the compressor behind me. The onboard computer gives three separate speed ratings; Normal, High and Maximum. I’m currently topping up the pressures to 3.9 bar in the front and 3.6 bar in the rear to comply with the last of those levels. We’re going to attempt V-max.

This being the Bentley Continental GT Speed, the high-water mark should be 205mph – making it the fastest production Bentley ever (back then, anyway, almost a decade ago). I’ve never been over about 190mph before and as well as trying to rigorously verify Crewe’s claims in the name of road testing, I’d like to be able to say that I’ve gone that extra 10mph faster.

The actual launch location for the new car is about 80 miles away in Berchtesgaden. There are some lovely stretches of tarmac down there, including a fabulous mountain toll road called the Purtschellerstraße which morphs into the Roßfeldstraße as it crosses the border from Germany into Austria. However, even though neither is tight by the standards of mountain passes, the big Bentley with its W12 slung out front nonetheless felt a little confined on the switchbacks this afternoon.

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