My current obsession will remain unfulfilled in any lifetime. It can be likened to that person who is way beyond your dating or marrying league. All you can do is just gaze from a distance, gawk incessantly, or if you get close and “personal,” try to get a selfie. This, however, is no person, but a very British motorcar. An almost impossible date—well, at least to 97% percent of us—is the new Bentley Continental GT W 12. A beauty and a beast that would do wonders to your internal combustion if you can at the very least attempt to flirt with it, or more so score a test drive.
I had a few flirtations with Bentleys in my lifetime. Once it was a languid ride from the airport to a hotel in a stretched Mulsanne. There was also this one time I was car-sitting a GT convertible when I was living in the Bay Area. Recently, I got to take a Mulsanne (a much older model) for a drive for a week.
Wake up Monchet, stop the reverie!
I am no petrol head, just a hopeless romantic. This is the third generation Grand Tourer. Meant to be driven on long journeys—it’s all very rich, and you can have as much bespoke stuff jammed in there as you like—as a 2+2 coupe, the rear passengers will have to put up with getting a bit squashed while they revel in the lavishness. This isn’t God’s work, but there is no downplaying the brilliance of its handcraftsmanship.
There’s leather wrapped around you, quilted on the door panels, covering the roof, sculpted on the seats (the seats are all infinitely adjustable and with a built in massage function). It’s like you’re inside Santa’s sack if it were made by Hermes. There’s the light in the bottom of the door that projects a perfect iteration of the Bentley logo onto the road below at night, or on your driveway. It’s like you need to wipe your croc skin Berluti mocs before slipping into a club chair that can have as much as 22 settings, and switching on your Bang and Olufsen (standard) sound system (Spotify not included).
As if that’s not enough, consider the highly polished fine wood veneers, the hand stitching, the knurled and machined rotary dials, the heavy metal fitments for the door releases—all adding to the multi-sensory experience. It’s like a living room on wheels, for the very, very few.
The curious detail about this current obsession is what drives it. Take a moment to reflect on the fact that this car has 12 cylinders. That’s right, 12. Most cars on the road boast a mere four. Fancier cars have six cylinders, often arranged side by side in a V formation. A few are blessed with V8s. The Bentley’s power plant is essentially two V6 motors mated together – a W12. I can’t imagine how much angst gets stuck in this beast knowing it will never be able to fire its engines on EDSA—not just during the holidays, any day. I can’t even begin thinking of parking it.
The thing is there are a few very well outfitted models at Bentley Manila. It’s way beyond my league, even if I do win the Spanish Lotto (with the largest wins per ticket). I went for a look-see and there was the Continental GT with a Hallmark (like a metallic gray) exterior, and inside a New Market Tan, finished off with a Burnt Oak veneer.
Unlike in the past, there was no flirtation. Just a long hard look and a sigh.
But not for you, perhaps?