The Truth About Cars » Bentley http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Bentley http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/bentley/ Volkswagen To Triple SUV Lineup In Fight Against Toyota For Total Global Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-to-triple-suv-lineup-in-fight-against-toyota-for-total-global-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-to-triple-suv-lineup-in-fight-against-toyota-for-total-global-sales/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=836730 With Toyota still in its sights, Volkswagen plans to triple the number of SUVs in its lineup in its fight for the top sales podium among the Global Three. Bloomberg reports the current offerings — the midsize Touareg and compact Tiguan — will soon be joined by the upcoming seven-passenger CrossBlue-based SUV that will either […]

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With Toyota still in its sights, Volkswagen plans to triple the number of SUVs in its lineup in its fight for the top sales podium among the Global Three.

Bloomberg reports the current offerings — the midsize Touareg and compact Tiguan — will soon be joined by the upcoming seven-passenger CrossBlue-based SUV that will either be assembled in Mexico or Tennessee, coupe and long-wheelbase versions of the Tiguan, the Touareg and a subcompact based on either the Taigun or T-ROC concepts. The strategy would provide VW with the opportunity to meet Toyota across the latter’s range on its way to beat the Japanese automaker in global deliveries by 2018, and would build brand strength in the United States and emerging markets such as China.

Meanwhile, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche are also moving further into the SUV market, ranging from the Cayenne and new Macan — both of which are expected to account for 64 percent of all Porsche sales by next year, according to IHS Automotive — to the Q1 in 2016 and Urus in 2017. The overall game would net Volkswagen an operating profit boost over 6 percent of sales over the current rate of 2.9 percent, as SUVs are considered to be more profitable than other vehicles.

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Bentley Continental GT Speed Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/09/bentley-continental-gt-speed-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/09/bentley-continental-gt-speed-review/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2008 15:49:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=78031 Nobody in their right mind pays $200k for a car. Yes, I’ve seen the Producers (when you got it flaunt it baby!) And I know some people have enough “it” to drop a couple of hundred grand on a car without asking for their change in GTIs. But even if copious lottery winnings could overcome my ethnic aversion to pissing away large amounts of money, I would still think twice about spending that kind of money on the Bentley Continental GT Speed.

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Nobody in their right mind pays $200k for a car. Yes, I’ve seen the Producers (when you got it flaunt it baby!) And I know some people have enough “it” to drop a couple of hundred grand on a car without asking for their change in GTIs. But even if copious lottery winnings could overcome my ethnic aversion to pissing away large amounts of money, I would still think twice about spending that kind of money on the Bentley Continental GT Speed.

Even before we take a hit of Speed, it should be remembered that Bentley returned from the grave by sexing-up the stillborn VW Phaeton to appeal to wealthy buyers in the financial sweet spot: $150k. The Continental GT was/is more exclusive than a top-line Porsche or Mercedes, for not a lot more money. By jumping the $200k barrier, Bentley’s playing a whole new ballgame.

A new, “entry-level” Ferrari F430 clocks-in at $173k. In theory. If practice you have to either pay a premium for a used one or wheedle your way onto a dealer’s waiting list (buying a new Maserati or older Ferrari helps) and dig in for a couple of seasons or four. Iridium Amex or no, Modena’s famous aim remains: make one fewer car than demand requires. They’ve got the $200k market by the family jewels.

And why not? Ferraris look, smell and drive like Ferraris. They have genuine character. Same goes for other cars in this price bracket. An Aston Martin is head swivellingly gorgeous; a four-wheeled Monica Bellucci. Lamborghinis are twisted and evil and haughty. They make me angry, which is why I love them. The interior of the Maserati Quattroporte makes me want to dress better. In a Porsche 911 Turbo even you, whoever you are, can drive 175 miles an hour. Me too.

And that brings us, finally, to the Bentley Continental GT Speed.

On one hand, the big Bentley does what a $200k car with the name “Speed” must: go fast. With a gargantuan twelve cylinder engine displacing 6.0-liters with twin turbochargers, the Speed version of the Conti in GT trim cranks out 600 horsepower. That’s a lot of ponies, even for a two-plus-two that weighs some 5k pounds. Enough gas-gargling go to propel the Anglo-German monster from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds.

And then there’s the Speed’s party trick: the leather-lined leviathan can pass 200 miles an hour, as no doubt verified via a shaky-cam documentary by some very wealthy, very stupid Russian oligarch on YouTube. By the same token, American Speed owners can talk about going 200 miles per hour while cruising to the country club for tee time.

On the other hand, so what? Yes, the Speed’s forward pace is a rush– though any real sports car at 30 percent of the cost (and half the weight) would shame you at a stoplight. But that’s so… jejune. More importantly, and disappointingly, Bentley’s beast handles no more than competently, as a trillion dollar suspension and all wheel-drive go into battle against 5200 lbs and something called “gravity.”

The steering is vague, and the transmission is stupid. It gets away with being so dumb-witted because the engine is such a circus. Sure, Tiptronic control of the transmission is available. But if you cared, you wouldn’t buy this car. I’d go on, but there’s no reason. It’s too boring. The Bentley Continental GT Speed drives like a Ford Flex.

The Speed gets away with being so dim-witted simply because of the badge and the engine. But it’s not enough, because the Bentley’s a badly executed car.

The Speed’s full leather interior with cross contrasting stitching (a $3300 option) felt coarse and looked putrid in my test car. The Speed has as many electronics as Captain Mike’s AWACS plane. But the gadgets are all several years out of date, anchored by an all-in-one LCD screen for operating the radio, HVAC, and navigation system that was objectively rotten. The grand touring promise that should be inherent in such a titanic coupe is broken by back seats that are too small for adults.

The Bentley Continental GT and its variants are this car era’s Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan: popular, famous and desirable because they are considered popular, famous and desirable. At the up-close level, a point-of-view most of us will never see, the car, like the tabloid celebrities, is bland and poorly finished. Shallow and average.

Bentley has rich history, but rather than follow BMW’s lead with Rolls-Royce and fashion something truly bespoke, original and remarkable, Volkswagen has guided Bentley into making as much money as quickly as possible. At some point in the next few years, just like Paris or Lindsay, even latter day fans of the resurrected brand are going to tire of Bentley and its Continental GT and move on.

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2009 Bentley Continental GTC Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/07/2009-bentley-continental-gtc-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/07/2009-bentley-continental-gtc-review/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2008 13:01:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=55681 Just the thing to impress them at the old ball game"OMG! It's Paris Hilton's car!" The bikini-clad blond with waiting-for-a-nuclear-blast sized sunglasses was impressed by the big black Bentley. "How much does it cost?" "How fast does it go?" "How did you get one?" An Abercrombie of bathing suits gathered around the British-built German car in the late summer sun. I didn't have the heart to tell them they were worshipping a false idol. So what if the Bentley Continental GTC is a four-wheeled Poptart, famous for being famous? Discretion is the better part of valet parking. I'd save my bubble-bursting for the Best and Brightest. And here you are. And here we go...

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Just the thing to impress them at the old ball game"OMG! It's Paris Hilton's car!" The bikini-clad blond with waiting-for-a-nuclear-blast sized sunglasses was impressed by the big black Bentley. "How much does it cost?" "How fast does it go?" "How did you get one?" An Abercrombie of bathing suits gathered around the British-built German car in the late summer sun. I didn't have the heart to tell them they were worshipping a false idol. So what if the Bentley Continental GTC is a four-wheeled Poptart, famous for being famous? Discretion is the better part of valet parking. I'd save my bubble-bursting for the Best and Brightest. And here you are. And here we go…

The Bentley's lines are clean and purposeful. In keeping with the Bentley Boys' Blowers, the Conti eschews Aston grace and Ferrari flair to emulate a raging locomotive. To that end, the Bentley's hood rises up with all the subtlety of a Dodge Ram. Make that a drunken Dodge Ram; the GTC's headlights angle upwards, as if they're about to roll backwards just before the car, well, passes out.

TToo much plastic for the pricehe Bentley's rear looks as if it was designed by a drunk. How else do you explain Dirk van Braeckel's decision to ram grossly overlarge oval taillights into a square hole? The GTC's rear haunches blend with the chunky trunk about as well as falafels and mint chocolate chip. Top down or top up (no anorexic camel ribs here), the Continental GTC's profile is killer: the new, more steeply raked windscreen is somehow both refined and rakish.

Taken as a whole, well let's be honest dahling, no one's EVER going to mistake a Bentley for an Audi. 

More leather than a Village People concertIf you want to understand what motivates leather fetishists, slip into in a Bentley Continental GTC. Honestly Dear, I swear I was just sitting here. In fact, NOT just sitting there something of a problem, nestled as you are in the world's most comfortable car seats, surveying a dashboard festooned with milled aluminum vents, chrome ventilation knobs and sapphire crystal gages. And more wood than you'll find on the screens at the Adult Video Awards.

Like porn stars, closer examination is not recommended. My Jetta shares steering wheel and sat nav buttons with the Bentley– and the lesser-priced VeeDub's controls line up. We can only hope that the Continental's more-than-slightly askew radio preset buttons are some sort of post-modern nod to Ye Olde British craftsmanship. The nav system proved clunky and abuser friendly; I guess that's why Lindsay Lohan drives around dazed and confused.

The profile\'s the best angleOnce upon a time, back when CO2 was considered plant food, Bentley listed their cars' power as "adequate." Today's Continental GTC is powered by a 552hp 6.0-liter, twin-turbo W-12 engine. The British brand lifted this mighty mill (sans blowers) directly from the remarkable Volkswagen Phaeton and exemplary Audi A8. With 479 lb-fts of twist on tap @ 1600 rpm, tickle the GTC's throttle and any concerns about lower-class genetics are soon erased.

At first, the GTC's engine rumbles like a distant thunderstorm. It quickly crescendos into a hardened roar, until it sounds like an F5 tornado bearing down upon a trailer park. Or, more likely, another gas station.

Put another way, the GTC feels like the freight train from Hell. My Aunt Chris couldn't speak for three minutes. Cousins Brigid and Kathleen (aged 10 and 12) turned from two reserved schoolgirls into a single mass of girlish giggles, urging me to drive fast enough to skip the car across Lake Erie to Kelly's Island. With a proper run-up, I reckon we would have made it half way- just before the 5200lbs GTC joined the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

You are getting sleepy....Yes there is that. The GTC is wider than a Range Rover and a half ton heavier than a Dodge Challenger. How do you get something this big and heavy to turn? While the Continental GTC will cruise effortlessly past reflective windows down any of the world's priciest avenues, there is always a deserted twisty road in Central Nevada just waiting for a $240k playmate.  

The big-ass GTC handles like a 747– with more grace than you'd ever imagine. The Bentley banks through the curves with extreme levels of grip and fastidious body control. Unfortunately, the harder one pushes the two-door through a turn, the more detached the already leaden steering becmes. At some point, the GTC's dynamic limits lose all vestiges of dynamism. If you really cane it, the all wheel-drive GTC continues to suffer in haptic and aural silence. Perhaps "real" Bentleys owners like yelling "Squeal God damn you! Squeal!" I wouldn't know.

Looks kind of like an SSR from this angleThe Bentley Continental GTC wants to be Rolls Royce when it grows up. Or rip off all its clothes and be an Audi A8. Either way, the Bentley drop-top just isn't comfortable in its own skin, leaving the discerning, non-status seeking driver wondering well, what IS the point? Like Paris Hilton, the Bentley is all flash and trash. In other words, if you don't get it, it's for you.  

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Bentley Continental Flying Spur Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2005/07/bentley-continental-flying-spur/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2005/07/bentley-continental-flying-spur/#comments Sun, 17 Jul 2005 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1464 If you want a lesson in engineering excellence, drive the new Bentley Continental Flying Spur slowly. At 35mph, with just 1500rpms on the tachometer, the go-pedal responds to the slightest pressure with a perfectly measured amount of additional momentum. Reverse ditto the brakes. At the same time, the big Bentley’s power-assisted steering helms with an […]

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 If you want a lesson in engineering excellence, drive the new Bentley Continental Flying Spur slowly. At 35mph, with just 1500rpms on the tachometer, the go-pedal responds to the slightest pressure with a perfectly measured amount of additional momentum. Reverse ditto the brakes. At the same time, the big Bentley’s power-assisted steering helms with an ideal combination of endless ease and infinite precision. All the Flying Spur’s systems work so well, and work so well together, that driving the $170k luxury car is an exercise in surgical satisfaction, offering complete mastery over a finely-honed instrument.

At full chat, the Continental Flying Spur has an ability to murder an open stretch of tarmac that beggars belief. She’ll steam from naught to 60mph in 4.9 seconds, and crest the ton just 6.4 seconds later. While you can pile on the mph’s without kickdown, why would you? Paddle, tip or auto– the Spur’s six-speed slips into lower gears like a supermodel slips into something more comfortable. And then the 17.4 foot luxobarge hurls itself down the road like God’s own fastball. No surprise, then, that the Flying Spur is the world’s fastest production sedan. Bentley turned down our request to enter the Spur in the Silver State Classic Road Race, which would have given it official membership status in their 200mph Club. Bugger!

 Never mind. The accelerative experience is a delight in and of itself. Straight line performance is both more dramatic (“Can you PLEASE warn me before you do that next time? I just put a line of mascara down my neck.”) and more mundane (“I’m sorry Darling. How fast did you say we’re going? Really? How marvelous. How do I look?”) than you could possibly imagine. Ironically, the leather-lined leviathan’s sumptuous interior isn’t wholly responsible for the muffled ferocity. It’s the Flying Spur’s underlying mechanicals that elevate the car to plausible deniability come ticket time.

All hail the Spur’s W12. The 6.0-liter powerplant’s configuration is bizarre (two narrow angle V6’s joined in turbo-charged matrimony), sonically eccentric (more whine than woofle) and entirely unsuitable for mass motoring (10mpg in city mode). And? In this rarified demographic, all that matters is that the VW-sourced mill produces a torque curve that’s almost as flat as week-old champagne. In the great Bentley tradition of barking mad waftability, we’re talking about 479lb-ft. of twist at 1600rpm. What can you do with that much oomph lingering underfoot? What CAN’T you do with it?

 Surprisingly, the answer to that question isn’t cornering. The Flying Spur changes direction with remarkable grace and conviction. Throw the 5000lbs. sedan into a corner and it leans a bit, and then hangs on for dear life (in the great Volkswagen Audi Group tradition). Understeer is out there, somewhere, but only truly determined stupidity will start sliding the beast’s nose towards the scenery. At any angle, the Spur’s multi-link rear axle and front double wishbones dismiss surface irregularities like a hot iron gliding over a wrinkled sheet. In fact, the air-suspended, four-wheel-drive Flying Spur offers more comfort and confidence through the twisties (long sweepers preferred) than its Continental cousin, the GT.

When it comes to style and cachet, both cars are so far ahead of the competition that it’s simply a matter of choosing between aesthetic aggression (GT) and dignified practicality (Flying Spur). The slow-selling Rolls Royce Phantom is the only car that can match the Continental Flying Spur’s exclusivity and charisma– for nearly twice the price. That said, the Flying Spur’s exterior seems distinctly clunky and unresolved in places. The disproportionately large rear lights detract from the overall design harmony, as do the bulbous, asymmetrical rear three-quarter windows. While we’re at it, the chrome side window surrounds don’t match the front and rear’s Darth Vader window treatment. Still, I wouldn’t kick the Spur out of bed for eating crackers.

 The Bentley’s cabin quality easily trounces the Mercs, Bimmers, Masers and even Audis of the world, and gives nothing away to the Roller. The Spur’s materials and workmanship– fragrant leather seats and surfaces, burled wood, mechanically dampened “brightwear” (Bentley-speak for switchgear), plush carpeting, etc. — are eerily perfect. (It was almost a relief when the armrest’s aluminum end piece fell off.) The Spur’s ergonomics are also peerless, benefiting from the fact that the donor car– the VW Phaeton– was developed before mouse-driven computer controllers invaded luxury car sancta. Satellite radio, parking sensors and Bluetooth connectivity are the only delights missing from the standard luxury car manifest.

Taken as a whole, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur is the world’s best sedan– provided you’re not a member of Greenpeace or a pistonhead who prefers a vehicle with an emotionally engaging personality. Make no mistake: the Continental Flying Spur possesses both an unquenchable appetite for fuel and a detached, Germanic persona. Even so, for the time being, the Flying Spur is as good as it gets.

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Bentley Continental GT Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2004/10/bentley-continental-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2004/10/bentley-continental-gt/#comments Wed, 20 Oct 2004 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003 Once upon a time, a car's identity was buried deep in its DNA. In these days of multinational parts and platform sharing, brands are born in a marketing memo, then programmed onto a computer chip. Even the most discerning car hack struggles to tell where a Mercedes SLK ends and a Chrysler Crossfire begins. All […]

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   The world's most compact 12-cylinder engine (and aural Prozac), found in the Bentley Continental GT, VW Phaeton and Audi A8Once upon a time, a car's identity was buried deep in its DNA. In these days of multinational parts and platform sharing, brands are born in a marketing memo, then programmed onto a computer chip. Even the most discerning car hack struggles to tell where a Mercedes SLK ends and a Chrysler Crossfire begins. All of which begs the question: is the Bentley Continental GT, the company's first all-new model since Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated– sorry, since Volkswagen bought the firm, a 'real' Bentley?

Hell if I know. The GT was my first close encounter with the Bentley brand. But I'll tell you this: you can be ambling down the highway in a Continental GT, doing nothing more strenuous than listening to right wing radio, look down at the speedo and see 120 on the clock, no problem. If "GT" stands for "Grand Tourer", no car does it better.

Thanks to Audi's Quattro system, the GT dispatches long sweepers with mindless easeExcept maybe a VW Phaeton. As one of the few people who's driven Vee Dub's commercially questionable flagship equipped with a W12 engine, I can report that the shared powerplant accounts for much of the Bentley's charm. Tread lightly on the go-pedal and both cars will saunter through town as happily as a recently elected mayor. Mash the gas, and both machines will accelerate deep into triple digits like a [very heavy] thing possessed.

Of course, the twin turbo, 552-horse Bentley is significantly faster than its sister under the skin. The blown Bentley will scoot to sixty in 4.7 seconds, and on to a V-max of, I kid you not, 198mph. But the GT's basic nature– the way it piles on the speed in a single, seamless lunge– is the same; and there's nothing wrong with that.

The Bentley badge gives conspicuous consumption a good nameActually, there is. The world's most compact 12-cylinder engine produces aural Prozac. Despite Bentley's attempts to tune the exhaust note to suit the brand's sporting aspirations, the GT's engine has all the sonic sex appeal of a pixilated race car from a '70's arcade game. It's loud at idle, loud under load and… that's it. Considering the company's long tradition of stuffing big-block baritone V8's into the engine bay, the variable decibel drone is a major disappointment.

In the corners, the GT is fast and… that's it. Thanks to Audi's four-wheel-drive system, the baby Bentley dispatches long sweepers with mindless ease. But, as you'd expect, throwing the 5250-pound two-door into a sharp corner is a less than relaxing pursuit. If nothing else, the GT's fingertip light steering makes initial turn-in and mid-corner adjustment a very tricky business. Anyway, why bother? The Bentley is about as suited to thrashing as a Lotus Elise is to long road trips.

Enough butter soft leather to clothe a small German cityOh, and it may seem churlish to mention it, but the Continental GT guzzles gas like an alcoholic aristocrat quaffing Dom. In semi-hooligan mode, I burned a gallon of dead dinosaur every 7.4 urban miles. An extended session of interstate cruising managed to double the figure– just. Again, who cares? Stateside, the flying "B" above the radiator gives owners a free pass from any social and/or environmental obligation. And that's why the GT's sheet metal and interior, rather than its on-road dynamics, ultimately define the car's character.

Bentley's new owners worked hard to imbue their muscle coupe with brand-specific styling cues (e.g. twin headlights of varying size). To my eyes, the overall design looks like a squished, angular version of an Aston Martin Vanquish. The GT's shape, though vaguely British, lacks cohesion. In particular, the sharp creases on either side of the hood make the prow look as if it was formed by a Play-Do shape cutter. I reckon the Chrysler 300C is a better looking Bentley. But hey, that's me. Most people consider the GT a suitably British "gentleman's express".

The new 'baby' Bentley four-door will be built at the Dresden Phaeton factory.  Is it beginning of the end of the marque's Britishness?Once inside, the olfactory sense overwhelms aesthetic sensibility. Every inch of the GT's cabin that isn't covered with piano-grade wood or satin finish aluminum or what was once Wilton carpet is slathered in perfectly-stitched, glove soft, dizzyingly fragrant leather. I reckon the GT's immaculate upholstery is the car's finest hour, in perfect keeping with Britain's bespoke tailoring tradition.

From there, it's straight back to the Fatherland. The GT's main display screen and attendant buttons are lifted straight from the Phaeton. All the switches– even the signature "organ stop" vent controls– work with Germanic precision. And in case you missed the point, the words "Made in Germany" are written in large type at the base of the cigarette lighter.

Is that a bad thing? Is it fair to diss the GT simply because it didn't evolve from the brand's original DNA? That depends. If you believe an automobile should reflect the engineering and design gestalt of its native land, then no, we shouldn't impugn this mighty machine. The Bentley Continental GT is a truly superb German automobile.

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