What Makes A Bentley So Special? We found out in a Continental GTC V8Months of work goes into a single Bentley, no matter whether it's a Continental or a Mulsanne. We went to the factory to find out how much.
-Bentley, a brand that conjures up images of old boys racing across continents, wind in their tushes and a martini at every stop. It's also one that exudes luxury, style, and elegance. And it's one of the most special out there. But why is that so? What makes this combination of mental, paint, wood, and engine so wonderful? Let me explain. The devil is in the detail, each and every tiny, tiny detail. Painstaking isn't the word. When the second-generation Continental GT was launched at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, lots of people commented that it looked remarkably similar to its immediate predecessor, but there are a few subtle differences. For example, this wing right here is actually one solid piece of metal whereas in the previous car it was two put on top of one another. Now, when the designers went to the engineers and suggested they do this, the engineers had a head scratching moment because the metal didn't quite work like that so because form has to follow function. What they did was they took to superforming aluminum, something they've never done before. It was a bit of a risk, but it paid off. Also, both the predecessor and the second-generation Continental GT do have cues that haunt back to the Continentals of old, which is why you have this power line up here and also the large wheel arches at the back because, after all, if ain't broke, well, why should you fix it? Let's start with the paint job. Looks pretty good. Doesn't it? Well, to get that, it has to go through 20 stages including zinc phosphate coating, 3 bakings from 140 to 175 degrees, sanding with 2 different types of sandpaper and 50 discs off them, wax injections, ultrafine polishing to give the cars the Bentley mirror finish. The process takes on average 11 working days to complete. The paint may take 11 days to do, but the wood in here takes 4 weeks to go from a thin-piece souvenir to the slice of polished beauty you see in the cabin. There's laser cutting, several stages of lacquering, polishing, more lacquering, flattening, more cutting, detailing, and even more lacquering. The standard of wood is so high that Bentley standard wood is now a wood industry thing. It's crazy, but it all adds up. Even the leather in here is ultra special. The 10 bulls, not cows, the leather in here comes from a fully grown, leaving fields without barge way in case they nick their precious hides on a fence. The smell was an important part of it too. Customers notice that the smell wasn't quite right in their new car, so Bentley discovered that the tanning plant they used had changed their technique and politely but firmly asked that they change it back to keep their customers happy. When the car is finally ready to be assembled, it goes through over 1,000 quality checks and a full road test and then even more finishing before it's ready to be handed over to its lucky new owner. And all that from a company, which is often flippantly referred to as one that makes cars almost exclusively for footballers. This version will do knot to 62 miles an hour in a stately 5 seconds and it will narrow down. It'll hit a 190 miles an hour. It will also allegedly top 25 miles to the gallon. Now, I fully admit I haven't quite managed that as of yet because, well-- So, this 165,000 pound with option, Bentley is worth every single penny. Even the engine in here is pretty special. It's a 4-liter twin turbo charge unit. It's got 500 brake horsepower and 487 pound per foot of torque. While the engine isn't actually built in Crewe, it's imported from Audi. The engineers there removed 13 brake horsepower and add 7 pound per foot of torque. So, you get a more competent cruiser. There is one minor downside to the whole package. It is a little bit heavy. It weighs nearly 2.5 tons, but you have to take a few things into account. For example, after the engine, the seats are the second heaviest thing in the car then there's the fact that there are 10 cows worth of skin in there and about a million trees in all the wood. I mean even with the dumper set to ultra sporty mode, it can feel a little wobbly in corners, but you have to remember that this isn't a sports car. It's a GT. Its engine sounds incredible. Its acceleration is punishing and wonderful, but it's designed to waft you from A to B with all the luxury lineage, heritage, and style in this case literally money can buy. So, why then is a Bentley special? Because everything that happens on one single site in Crewe adds up; the painstaking work that goes in to make each piece of wood shining. The paint reflect the sun just so. The seats perfect and the performance blow not only your mind, but your ears. All that means you're not just driving a car, but countless hours of love and care from people who love their job. And their job is your happiness. Things don't get more special than that.