2008 Bentley Continental GT Speed
My most prized-possessions are handmade. The golden heels designed by my favorite shoemaker in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico who makes only 10 pairs of each style. My Scott Gibson jeans, tailored to the curves of my hips by the designer himself.
My most prized-possessions are handmade. The golden heels designed by my favorite shoemaker in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico who makes only 10 pairs of each style. My Scott Gibson jeans, tailored to the curves of my hips by the designer himself. And my newest acquired item - a camel-colored leather handbag handcrafted by Corie at the market in Nolita. Seasons come and go, but these authentic items stand the test of a closet cleanout. It makes perfect sense that amazing automobiles should be made in this manner as well, with tender loving care. Just like my belongings they have their own stories. These thoughts come to mind when reminiscing of my time behind the wheel of the 2008 Bentley Continental GT Speed.
This personal touch is only one reason that I accepted the invitation to become a Bentley Girl. In the fair-weathered world of luxury cars, newness has almost become passé, until you delve beneath the surface and investigate what real luxury is made of – substance. For the record, Bentleys are made by hand. It all goes down in a place called Crewe that I imagine is somewhat like a workshop with elves bustling.
Whatever this mystical factory looks like in reality, the autos manufactured here are one-of a kind works of art and the new GT Speed is no exception. At first glance, the GT Speed seems to be a refreshing rendition of its two-door class. Real luxury is about subtlety, class that's not brittle and flashy, but succulent and divine. It's in the pristine wood, leather and polished metals that adorn the interior. It's bits of chrome and protruding tailpipes and a solid chassis for more rooted driving.
While the Bentley Continental GT Speed is popular among pockets of wealthy owners spread sparingly and selectively across the American coasts, it seems fitting that a car should makes it debut in an equally enchanting atmosphere – the land of flamenco — Andalusia. As I launched the golden Bentley gripping the hand-stitched steering wheel, I left behind the Hotel Cortijo Soto Real, a villa peppered with olive branches and inspiring country views, and my new favorite locale.
And woosh! That was the sound of heaven, or the Bentley GT Speed accelerating on a romantic southern Spanish highway, with a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.3 seconds and 202 mph top speed. Its 600 horsepower kick and a turbo W12 engine are a wicked combination for a car badged so innocently with the “Speed” emblem only appearing on the doors. It's a hefty ship, built for making big waves on the road, not for the racetrack.
Paying homage to Bentley's original “Speed” models that first appeared in 1923, the Continental GT Speed will likely make its own mark on Bentley enthusiasts just as its namesakes did.
Too soon, the driving day drew to a close, and I toasted with the Bentley Girls, who invited me to join their club sipping sherry from a goblet at Gonzalez Byass — another handmade treat. Bonita.
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