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Bentley Continental 2006 review


If you think the car looks good on paper, in reality it absolutely screams luxury, wealth, elegance and style. At $399,500 you wouldn't expect anything less.

The gorgeous sky-blue convertible was on hand for the Australian launch last week and you can't help but feel your confidence level rise as you slip into the cream pure leather interior and get comfy in this dream car. Let's cut to the chase, it's definitely a car you can't help but show off in peak-hour traffic.

And that I did.

With the roof down, my hair flying uncontrollably, and I mean in the Bridget Jones sense, not an attractive shampoo commercial way, I'm reasonably sure I made a lasting impression on Sydney roads.

OK, so I didn't do much to raise my cool status, but the Bentley surely did.

With its long body, smooth surfaces and stunning looks, it was love at first sight and not just for me behind the wheel. This attention magnet drew glances from all angles.

The Continental GTC is Bentley's soft-top 2+2 convertible. And it is so much more than just looks. She has brains, beauty and power as well. With a six-litre, W12 twin-turbocharged engine, you won't be short on excitement. And the goosebumps creeping on the top of your skin prove it. It generates a massive 411kW at 6100rpm and 650Nm at a low 1600rpm and despite the extra 110kg it carries over the Continental GT coupe, the convertible still races from 0-100km in 5.1 seconds. To put it simply, the 2495kg GTC is a lot of fun to drive.

There were roads to conquer, and its weight was not a hindrance. With its tight grip, smooth sailing around corners and the new rear suspension giving a refined yet sporty performance, the soft top is pure luxury — heaven on wheels.

The three-layer fold-away roof takes just 25 seconds to disappear and it can do the job while travelling at up to 30km per hour. And there's no need to worry, it has plenty of space in the boot for golf clubs or shopping bags or hey, why not splurge on the pricey, but must-have Bentley matching luggage? It's only a couple of grand, or more, extra.

The inside complements the exterior, with its handcrafted wood, leather and polished metals and the air ventilation system has old-fashioned push-pull levers. A nice touch.

While the GTC may have been the trendy stunner, it was nicely balanced out with a ride in the more conservative, elegant 2007 Arnage T model. Let me get something straight, conservative by no way indicates less, as is evident from the price.

It is rather a sophisticated and mature performer. Its 6.75-litre, V8 twin turbo engine pumps out 372kW and, wait for it, an enormous 1000Nm of torque.

Effortless is really the best way of describing this $545,000 car. Royalty is the first thing that pops into your mind and this time, I mean the Buckingham Palace kind.

The Arnage T has lavish leather seats, a solid, wide stance on the road, a high seating position, and glides with ease. On narrow roads around Kuring-gai Chase National Park, you really notice the grandeur of the vehicle, but mixed in with busy Sydney roads, the excellent driving dynamics take over and you barely notice its large dimensions.

Silver and black were the main colours adorning the interior, adding to the classy character of the model.

The large, trademark Bentley grille on the front exudes dominance and contributes to the powerful stance of the Arnage. A smaller, similar grille sits on the GTC.

Bentley sells about 100 vehicles overall in Australia a year, so there won't be too many of these new models on our roads.

The combined cost of the two cars I drove was nearly one million dollars. So you can see why they are so elite.

Putting that into perspective, we're talking houses, a yacht, a big holiday ... let's just say I don't see these Bentleys as being a permanent part of my future. But, hey, a girl can dream and for one afternoon, I even got to pretend.

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GT 6.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $92,400 – 106,150 2006 Bentley Continental 2006 GT Pricing and Specs
Flying Spur 6.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $74,888 – 89,990 2006 Bentley Continental 2006 Flying Spur Pricing and Specs
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