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The end of the road

12 months ago

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Writer:

Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder

Date:

1 March 2023

Around we went, a perfect 360. It might have looked balletic from a distance, a neat pirouette like the Sugar Plum Fairy twirling across the stage. In a flash the road ahead was replaced by the road behind, then the green-brown blur of the scenery stage left. I braced for impact, waiting for the thump-smash-pow of metal colliding with rock, glass smashing and airbags exploding.

Instead there was a muffled crump as two and a bit tonnes of Bentley came to rest at a jaunty 45-degree angle in a soft ditch. Then there was silence. I sat for a moment, stunned, then tried and failed to open my door. It’s only when you try to push one of those up rather than out that you realise how heavy they really are. I pushed harder still, clambered my way out – one of only two times I have exited a car by any means other than stepping – and knew I’d been correct all along: the V8 model was better than this W12 in every regard.

When Bentley announced last week it was retiring its W12 engine, I thought back to that stylish dismount in the Cambridgeshire Fens in 2014 and realised I wasn’t in the least bit bothered. As the bemused farmer who towed me out using his ancient Land Rover in exchange for a dog-eared twenty observed: ‘If you’re going to put a car in a ditch, it might as well be a Bentley Speed.’ Yes, very well, but if you want to avoid the ditch altogether, try the Continental GT V8 instead.

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