There’s nothing like a grand tour from Britain to the Continent to put Bentley’s newest 207mph grand tourer through its paces.
For it’s exactly what the British luxury car firm’s new third generation Continental GT was designed for – whether it be a whizz down to the sunshine of the Med, or packing the skis for some alpine fun.
As a Bentley Boy for the day I had the chance to experience it for myself on a mini-epic drive through the Alps for breakfast in Austria, a bowl of pasta for lunch in Italy, and then back to across the border just in time for wiener schnitzel for tea in the new Crewe-built Continental GT.
As I flew to Innsbruck to start the journey, it wasn’t quite a pan-European grand tour, but certainly enough of a jaunt to get a measure of the car.
The Daily Mail’s Motoring Editor also didn’t like the flimsy feel of some of the controls in the cockpit
But it’s not an entirely glowing report on first impressions as there are a couple of slight niggles.
The windscreen pillars are quite thick, for safety reasons, which can obscure vision when turning the tightest corners.
And the indicator and other stalks feel a bit lightweight and blingy – out of keeping with the solid feel of the rest of the car.
To prove its grand touring credentials, it has been tested over more than 600,000 miles around the globe in temperatures from sub-zero to 50C.
This was from the Middle East and South Africa to the America and China – and even on a special piece of potholed road near the firm’s Pym’s Lane factory, which Bentley persuaded the local council to leave unrepaired because it gives such a good real-world experience of wear and tear on UK highways.
I can’t wait to take it on tour of the UK – from Land’s End to John O’Groats. And maybe back again.
Bentley Continental GT facts Most technologically advanced Bentley ever produced – with 2,300 circuit boards, five miles of wiring (8km), 92 electronic control units and controlled by 100million lines of computer code (15 times more than on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner)World’s first three-way rotating dashboardEach interior is crafted from nine northern European bull hides stitched together with 1.7miles (2.8km) of thread Eight handcrafted veneers plus four dual veneer and 15 choices of interior trim hide15 luxury carpet optionsDiamond-style pattern on knobs and trim inspired by luxury Swiss watch-makers . Special Cotes de Geneve finish machined on aluminium just 0.6mm thick20-way adjustable seats with cooling, heating and massage functionsA fully digital instrument panel that can be configured to suit the driver 17 basic exterior paint options, plus 70 in extended rangeThree audio systems including a top of the range Naim system with 18 speakers and active bassSoundproofing, including full acoustic glazing, makes cabin is 9db quieter and special Pirelli P Zero tyres with noise cancelling system to reduce road rumbleUp to 12 ultra-sonic sensors, six cameras and short- and long-range radar allow the car to respond to potential dangers around itHeadlights featuring the latest LED matrix technology with lamps inspired by the finest cut-crystal glasses