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LOS ANGELES — At the corner of Washington and Pacific Ave. in Venice Beach, a girlfriend and I are devising an action plan.
There’s a Ghost White (with a pearlescent sheen) Bentley Continental GT V8 in the back parking lot of the coffee shop we’re standing outside of. It’s waiting for our verdict, too. Our time with the fine specimen of British engineering is limited, so we want to make the best of it.
Do we head south to find a route along a quintessential Californian coastline? Do we go inland and just drive until we have to fill its tank up? Then turn around and drive back? Do we just hang out in Santa Monica? Decisions, decisions.
Either way, we have no set destination in mind. It’s kind of liberating. It also brings to mind the saying, “Not all who wander are lost.”
We’re not lost at all. And if that happens, there’s a navigation system to get us back on track. Let’s head south.
Using the GT V8’s in-dash nav, we find the roads that take us beside the ocean, but that’s short lived. After all, the Pacific Coast Highway (a.k.a. PCH) isn’t a continuous route along the Golden State, and it can lead you into some not-so-picturesque neighbourhoods.
Change of plan. Head north to Malibu. This way, we’ll be able to enjoy the Pacific Ocean in longer stretches and dream of waterfront homes we’ll probably never live in. Regardless, it’s still a treat and a fantasy I’m willing to indulge in, if only for a moment in time. It’ll be worth it.
Sometimes, living the SoCal lifestyle is best done behind a hand-stitched steering wheel of a vehicle that could be considered art on wheels. I love all the curves and edges of its bodacious exterior, but it’s the cabin where I find my fondest adoration.
The Fireglow (red) hide that is delicately draped over the four seats is a hue that is flattering on the eyes. Complemented by a diamond-quilted pattern that is strewn across the doors and rear quarter inserts, it’s certainly an environment I feel comfortable in. Like being in the arms of a person you love. Except that person you love has a British accent and a heart that generates 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque from a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8. Delicious.
Though putting the ponies to good use is quickly stifled due to certain restrictions. It’s not because of incompetence of its eight-speed transmission and steering column mounted paddle shifters. Nor is it because of the permanent all-wheel drive system with a 40:60 front to rear bias.
It’s the legally binding signs posted on the sides of the road. That said, we would still enjoy what other things came to pass.
Despite the imperfections on the pavement that lie underneath the 20-inch wheels, we’re treated to the splendors that life has to offer in the GT V8. And the stares it generates at stoplights and with fellow commuters.
Optioned with the Sports Specification with Full Carbon Fibre Interior package (US$8,145), we can feast our senses on every car enthusiast’s favourite woven pattern.
Effortlessly blended into its shapely lines, along the centre stack and also found on the centre console and roof console, it’s a driver’s dream to swim in a sea of carbon fibre. Not to mention, the Naim for Bentley premium audio system (US$7,300) that was ear candy when we didn’t have the windows rolled down to listen to the crashing waves or sports exhaust.
Aside from its competent performance, speed sensitive power steering and inspiring driving dynamics, the GT V8’s boot doesn’t necessarily support the baggage that would come with the SoCal lifestyle. There’s only 358L around back. And while it’s a beautiful rear end, not a lot of junk can literally fit in its trunk.
Two words: Pack light.
And as the day drew to an end, there was no better way to bid it adieu than by watching the sunset. The bright star hit the horizon, flickered green and went to repose. And we went home.
Alas, the fantasy world ended. The keys were handed to the valet attendant and I felt as though I’d been stripped of my SoCal crown.
Albeit a short encounter, it could be a more permanent one for a specific price. The Bentley Continental GT V8 has a base MSRP of US$177, 500. With all the trick options and a US$2,725 destination charge, the final price tag comes out to US$227,110.
Until next time, my Ghost White friend. Until next time.
Watch this guy take a Bentley Continental GTC V8 on a very different type of road trip … though Scotland:
Source : http://driving.ca/bentley/continental/reviews/road-test/california-dreaming-in-a-bentley-conti/
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