Group Director enjoys Bentley Test Drive

There may be 86 years between them but these two Bentleys are both thoroughbreds as Polly Staveley, director TL Dallas & Co Ltd discovers on a dual test drive.

‘…Are you around on 13 August, I have arranged for you to drive a new Bentley Continental for a few days, oh and by the way you can also drive my 1929 Bentley?’ That was the text I received from my great friend Jonathan Turner, obviously I ‘hummed & aahhed’ and begrudgingly agreed to drive the cars and review them both for BQ Magazine.

So it was I turned up at JCT 600 Bentley in Leeds on a sunny afternoon in August to pick up the new Bentley. My trusty BMW looked rather dishevelled amongst the gleaming Bentleys on the forecourt, but on seeing the prices on the windscreens the Yorkshire girl in me thought to myself, ‘who would pay THAT for a car’?!’.

Mike Carr of JCT did the paperwork and took me to the car: a navy blue Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible, with a hand stitched cream leather interior…heartstoppingly beautiful! Mike explained Bentley’s heritage of building ‘Grand Tourers’:- well built, comfortable cars with a huge amount of horsepower and this one is the cream of the crop, with a 6 litre W12 twin turbo engine, churning out a whopping 626 horsepower and a top speed of 200mph.

After Mike had pointed out the necessary driving controls and, more importantly, I had shown him how to sync my Iphone with the bespoke ‘Naim’ sound system, I set off into the sunshine, roof down, music pumping. I have to admit that my perception of Bentleys was that I was the wrong sex and about 30 years too young to be driving one, and that it would be rather like manoeuvring a high powered tank, but as I pulled out into the rush hour Leeds traffic, I was very pleasantly surprised. The car felt smaller and more nimble than I expected and the great big engine purred quietly below the bonnet as we negotiated the city traffic. Some blue lights approaching rapidly behind me on the dual carriage way caused brief panic and a check of my speedo, but all was well and he whizzed past.

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