The BAC Mono and the Bentley Continental GT: 2 different experiences of the same road
For driving fun.
You also need a good stretch of tarmac.
Finding an amazing piece of road like this the North Coast 500 is a thrill for anyone that loves driving.
But the same piece of road and the same conditions can be Completely different in two different cars.>> Indeed.
And the two cars that we've dragged all the way up here to the north of Scotland, on the one hand have a lot in common They both British handmade sports cars, they both cost well north of 150,000 pounds.
They're both fast AF, but on the other hand, couldn't be more different.
I've brought the Bentley Continental GT the new one.>> Man, I'm.
Yes, yes, I imagine that you would be.
You have drawn the shorter straw.
No, no, can we just.
I didn't draw this.
Who came up with this idea and who delegated the cars?
Okay, yeah, it was my idea.
In my defense, when we were planning this though, it was the height of the hottest summer we've had ever.
So I am sorry.
I forgotten it rains in Scotland.
But you may have been issued with the short straw But what a straw.
Under other any circumstances, that would be my ultimate car to be driving on this road today.
I do absolutely love this sort of car.
Yeah, no creature comforts but an absolute raw thrill.
Mind you, that's a pretty good thing to bid.
And it is fast.
Over 200 miles an hour that will do so it's no slouch.
But that's quicker to 60.
That is quicker to 60.
Although today that's gonna [INAUDIBLE].
One thing this is gonna allow us to explore is what you said.
To see how the same bit of road in the same conditions feels completely different in cars that are, although, same kind of price, aimed at potentially the same kind of people, utterly, utterly, different.
Yeah, the philosophies couldn't be further apart really could they?
I'm just gonna spend five minutes getting into this.
[LAUGH] Okay, I'll see you coming down the road.
While Henry Went through the rigmarole of getting himself into the Mono, I effortlessly slipped into my warm haven of wood and leather to start sampling the epic North Coast 500.
Now Henry and I are approaching this, bye Henry, with completely different attitudes, different cars and different end results.
While Henry was going to get the tactile rawness and engagement of the Mono, I was going to get the
The full Bentley experience.
So what is the Bentley experience?
Well, Bentley occupy this almost unique space between the ultra luxury, that inheritance they have from the age of being part of Rolls-Royce, and that more sporty dynamic GT side.
The kind where they're treading on the territory of the likes of Aston Martin, and the Continental GT since it first came out.
15 years ago has occupied that slot in the middle.
This latest generation of Continental GT brings a few visual tweeks to the design on the exterior.
As well as some welcome changes to the interior.
In particular, the new infotainment system.
All of that you can enjoy at your leisure when you're using the car for what it's best at, simply enjoying the drive.
But where previous generations of a Continental Felt great over long distances, they could feel a little numb over roads like this.
But, not anymore.
Improved balanced and better steering make a huge difference, and now despite the weight of this car, you could really have some fun out here, on this amazing road.
Here we are on the North Coast 500.
What an amazing This is where do you focus my mind on certain aspects of the right well right over time.
There's changes in tarmac surface, like this, you're looking at water and you got your shadow hands not affected.
You're just thinking about the road so much in terms of how the tyres are going to be dealing with it, think about the white line, when do you cross the white line, all the cameras and bumps you obviously feel, you can see some of them but those you're feeling, Through the steering wheel, you don't use a lot of luck through the corners.
But you got a lot of feedback, still, all right, this heavy steering, design-assisted steering.
For such an extraordinary, uncompromising single-seater of a car, you really do have surprising blinds in suspension.
Those long wishbones, coupled with great springs and dampers And this has got the optional cartwheels [INAUDIBLE].
As an effect of the unsprung weights.
And it really rides pretty well!
You need to focus very much on the road, you're not looking at your surroundings that much.
I'll obviously be wearing a helmet, I love driving these sort of open cars without a helmet on.
But, [INAUDIBLE], so you're going to hopefully hear me a bit better.
all fighting against chip on my face.
Scanning the horizon much more.
[SOUND] That was something, because you're obviously sitting low in this car, you can't quite see over crests as much as you would in a normal car.
So that probably does actually temper your speed a little bit.
While I had to keep my eyes locked on the road ahead, focusing completely on the drive itself, Drew was enjoying a completely different type of motoring.>> Henry's mono needs to be driven hard that is a tool for driving at the edge of your ability ,the joy of a bentley at any speed it's a bentley you're getting the bentley experience at 30 miles an hour or 130 miles an hour and obviously the single biggest advantage i have today over henry is all the creature comforts i have and obviously bentley has been the In spades.
Starting with just the general comfort of the place.
The leather, Bentley leather, is an industry standard for the highest possible quality of the stuff and there are bulls and bulls worth of it in this car.
Everything you touch, everything you can smell is exquisitely crafted to create a comfortable place.
The seats are not just merely there to hold you in place, they're there to make the journey comfortable.
They give you enough support when you want to go quick but on those long long drives you can still arrive absolutely refreshed.
The difference in size and width between this and the Mono isn't actually that big, they are surprisingly close in dimension.
But with that car you can see where you are placing it.
With a Bentley it is so large, that you have to play it a little bit safe.
So you can't necessarily Curve each corner as much as you want.
Equally this car has a slightly more norm approach to give you your feet back.
rather than give you every vibration it possibly could to tell you every condition of every part of every road.
it gives you more of a suggestion, a hint of what lies ahead.
Equally the steering is there to a make a effortless and control not Sharp.
I'm not here to say that one car is better than the other.
I mean, I'm a record as having said that the mono is probably my favorite car.
But today it has been more than once.
Absolutely pissing it down.
There's no other way of putting it.
And I've watched Henry get cold, get wet.
Why haven't seen him get though, is miserable.
Despite enduring the Scottish weather without as much as a windscreen to protect me, in a way it adds to rather than detracts from the experience.
I love the fact that as well, you feel all the elements.
So what you can't see from here is obviously the temperature.
When that changes, you feel that.
When the wind changes direction or the roads move around you get the When you're finished on the side of your head.
Going to much more 360 degree experience of the writers, because you're taking it off the trees.
You just have to go.
Concentrate on the actual road itself [UNKNOWN]
ist so fast this car but it's not as intimidating as you might think ones you've got use the gear box and the noise we getting to this rock so you think it's gonna be slippery over here you think about all sort of things you look a way ahead you take every chance you can [INAUDIBLE] Hey I can feel the wind on the side of here.
You think about your braking as well.
[INAUDIBLE] It's obviously like the [INAUDIBLE].
It can take a little bit of getting used to driving right at the center of your lane.
But wow what an experience.
I must say it's hard not to get jealous.
Of Henry and that model, even in these weather conditions.
But I have to admit, if you want a more relaxing approach to enjoying a powerful car, then the Conti is not a bad bet.
The all-wheel drive and the amazing levels of grip you get in this car mean that there isn't much that will phase it all all.
It's the right car then to take to Scotland, the country they invented rain.
To really be able to plow through no matter what.
And I I must say, this massaging seat function is worth its weight in gold.
Henry though had his own version of massaging seat.
There's a lot of vibration in this car, as you can probably tell.
[UNKNOWN] directly to that carbon chassis, and carbon's not known for its forgiveness.
Drew might have a massage function in the Bentley but I've got a massage function Another thing to bear in mind with this car is the fact that you will get a lot of looks.
You'll get people in the car in front try and take photos.
Much more so even than the new Bentley, people just stop and stare with this.
It's like you're in an alien spaceship.
Now there are many roads in the UK which could claim to be our nation's best for driving on.
But I think here, the North Coast 500 really should be counted amongst the top.
It has some amazing technical sections where you really get to push yourself and the car to its maximum.
And the roads go from driving up in the hills to be carved right into the mountain face to driving down past the lochs and ruins of castles dotted around.
It is so very Scottish in the The best possible way is absolutely stunning.
And to be here with two of my favorite cars in the world is such a treat.
And the weather might not be playing ball but truly this is the most British weather you could ever hope for.
And considering these are British cars, if you build a British car, it has to withstand rain.
One of the biggest advantages of driving the Bentley Leon roads like this is that when you see a spectacular view, you can pull over, put the car in park gets out and actually enjoy it been a magnet.
Of driving with two of the best British cars money can buy.
But with the sun setting, it was time to regroup with a drink and a debrief.
So have you dried out?
[LAUGH] Just about.
We couldn't have looked more different walking in here, me bedraggled and hell-bent and all that stuff.
I was relaxes.
Warmed by your heated seat and massage.
I was more relaxed But I guess the question is having driven both out here, which was the better experience on the roads that we had them on?
They're just so different.
I think one is, in the Bentley you experience the road probably more of the road to some extent and the scenery around you because you don't have to be so focused on the road.
But in terms of driving, the mono is the Because you're just so involved you have to think all the time about how the car is interacting with the road.
How you are interacting, do you need to use the clutch for this time shift, do you brake here about which bit of tarmac do you use, all that sort of thing.
For me it was just having the contrast of getting to experience both on this stretch of road and you get to enjoy the contrast between them.
Going Into the Bentley, initially, it feels great, it's comfortable.
Then you jump into the Mono, and you realize the tactility, the ferocity, that the engagement with every aspect of what's around you, which you didn't have in the Bentley.
And you love it in the Mono, and you experience it, and it's thrilling.
And even in the driving though, as much as a lightweight car is wonderful, and You just [UNKNOWN] the way the [UNKNOWN] across the road leave me [UNKNOWN] accessing I'm using the sensitive [UNKNOWN] much to do with [UNKNOWN] with the mono and she said yes.
So that contrast
Yeah you go from managing a right way car that could be skating very well conditions were every tiny input Has a response from the car to managing the weight and the momentum of a much heavier car with much more suspense in travel, much more dip on the breaking.
Those things you notice when you go from one end to the other.
Getting to drive both back to back was probably the best way of experiencing the road all together, really.
So what you're saying really is that you should have two friends, one who [UNKNOWN] [INAUDIBLE] and they should get insurance on both and do the North Coast like that.
That might be the only way to get the best out of it.
I can drink to that one.
Quite clearly, this was never about picking a winner between the BAC and the Bentley.
Rather it was about demonstrating just how diverse your experiences on the road can be depending.
In the car you're in, and while sometimes you might feel like you're not in the best car for the road you're on, it's always worth enjoying the aspects accentuated by it.
But whatever you're behind the wheel of, whatever your particular perspective on the tarmac, go and experience the North Coast 500.
You won't regret it.