My friend Chip tossed me a set of keys. “Take the Bentley. Bring it back Monday sometime,” he said. I stared at the Umbrian Red Metallic chariot before me. Sooooo much cooler than the A8L I was leaving in the lot. This weekend, I’d be rollin’ like an Axe Capital fund manager on Showtime’s “Billions”.
Or, so I thought…
You see, life in a Bentley presents it’s own set of unique circumstances.
The car is exceptional. Chip calls the GT “the finest Grand Touring car you will ever drive.” My wife just called it “freakin’ incredible”.
It has a 6.0 Liter W12 engine that roars when asked (or when blowing by some annoying weekend bicyclists taking up the whole road on a country double yellow two lane). Yes, I’m that jerk.
There are 552 HP ready and willing to rocket you to 60 in just over 4 seconds (pretty amazing for such a heavy car).
All wheel drive always keeps you in line (courtesy of Audi).
Plus, there’s premium leather, premium aluminum, and premium wood on everything. Even the headliner. Think posh Capital Grille steakhouse on wheels, minus the portraits of old rich guys.
You could drive in the Bentley GT seats for days. The power was intoxicating. Every surface was delightful to touch. I was getting lost in the experience, until circumstance #1 called me back to Earth.
A tinted 2 door, spray painted Infiniti, with ridiculous poorly done aftermarket boy racer exhaust pulled up and wanted to have at it on the freeway. Uhhhhhhh….no. In fact, every specimen of track prowess (read Mustang 5.0, said Infiniti, etc) seemed to have beef with the Bentley. They always ended up hammering down as I declined, laughing themselves silly because they “bested” a Bentley. One thing you learn when driving a Bentley, you have nothing to prove. Merely driving one proves it.
Circumstance #2: Gas. The GT drank like a frat boy. Ok, it wasn’t that bad (18ish mpg), but the W12 was thirsty. Contrary to what I thought, I was not a celebrity pulling up to the pumps. People pretty much ignored the Bentley…until I pulled away. Guy in the Chrysler 200, I saw you staring.
Circumstance #3: Driving a Bentley dictated all kinds of decisions:
I washed it immediately.
I parked as far away from Panera and the Pharmacy as possible, to keep the doors pristine. But, for whatever reason in Maryland, people seek out expensive cars in empty lots to park next to. I was fine at Panera, but such was the case at the pharmacy. What the @%$#!!?? Right next to me, with 30 spaces to pick from!
The Bentley made me wear better clothes (no weekend sweats), and a watch that looked like it belonged in the car.
It was the only car parked in the garage, and I moved EVERYTHING that could possibly shift, or fall, or be near, AWAY from the car.
My kids were forbidden to touch anything, and my 3 year old wasn’t allowed in the car.
I had to brush up on my knowledge. Guys asked all kinds of Bentley questions, especially when they wanted to see the engine.
I got used to guys with 5 series and E classes staring at me like I was the hottest girl on earth… okay…. they weren’t staring at me.
There were a few other circumstances: Sticking out like a sore thumb in the line of cars when dropping your daughter off at school. Getting weird looks parking at Kmart. Getting a lot of Facebook likes. And, there was that guy saying “what do you care about gas mileage with your Maserati hat?. Do you own the ___________ ______________ clothing store? What do you want a Tesla for? I don’t like diesels because of the carcinogens!” He was …uh…nice enough, I guess.
Lastly, driving a Bentley made me realize the whole media narrative about people hating one percenters wasn’t true. People loved the car. They checked it out. Some took pictures. They were all very nice. And, they all wanted one.
I wrote an article a few weeks ago about how most midsize luxury sedan buyers could afford a Bentley. So, here’s the kicker: The Bentley I was driving was a 2005. No one could tell the difference. It had 34K miles. It was pristine, and it cost around $60K. Most were shocked to find out. I actually think I became a celebrity when I told people. They definitely asked a lot of questions. Three asked about buying the car. It was a good time.
Anyway, I dropped it off this morning.
48 hours was not nearly enough.
BTW – That Bentley is for sale. See it at www.EuroStarAutos.com
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