Currently reading: Bentley Continental GT long-term test review: the Conti lifestyle
Our Steve Cropley has experienced an extraordinary few days with some keen Bentley owners including the CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer

Two important lessons we’ve learned about owning a car like the Pre-Owned 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8 we’ve been running this past five months and 7000 miles — and in two starkly different senses, they concern the special places it can take you.

On one hand, you can enjoy a very special lifestyle if you choose to join others in the Bentley community — such as the group I’ve just met on a three-day owner event called Bentley Extraordinary Drive that affords numerous chances to enjoy fine cars and the things that usually go with them.

On the other, the Bentley can make ordinary activities special, as colleague Allan Muir discovered while filling the Conti’s boot with plants, pots, tools and bags of compost for a garden overhaul. “Most luxurious ride to a garden centre I’ve ever had,” he reports, “although the boot could have been bigger. Everyone around me had an SUV…”

For the 15 or so people who did it all, the Extraordinary Drive was a chance to see Britain from the premium seats. It started in Crewe, where, incredibly, guests dined at the home of CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer, and progressed to the famous Bentley factory, where they saw Bentayga production in full swing. Some were already owners and several others prospective buyers.

Next, guests wafted down the scenic spine of England to the luxurious Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, then onward to nearby Blenheim Palace, where, after an afternoon of shooting or fly fishing, they were met, incredibly again, by the Duke of Marlborough, who accompanied them on a tour of his wonderful family pile. They took dinner, then went back to the Manoir. The final day was at Silverstone, to meet the Bentley GT racing team’s drivers and see them race. For all this, the guests paid £7000 a couple; it probably shows the completeness of my immersion that this didn’t strike me as too bad. It was certainly enjoyable.

Woke up with a bump next day and headed back to work, but at least I still had the Conti to take me there, which was pretty good consolation.

Read our previous reports:

City slicker

A stylish match for Porsche?

Enjoying an elastic V8

First report

Bentley Continental GT V8 (2013)

Mileage 28,220 Price new £125,000 Price now £80,000 Economy 21.5mpg Faults Exhaust rattle, broken tyre valve Expenses None Last seen 11.5.16

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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TS7 18 June 2016

What a bunch of miserable proles...

...are biliously smearing their verbal faeces onto the internet this evening.
Winston Churchill 19 June 2016

TS7 wrote: ...are biliously

TS7 wrote:

...are biliously smearing their verbal faeces onto the internet this evening.

Oh yes, you've sliced us down with your insightful wisdom and debating skills. Thanks so for your post. Twat.

Winston Churchill 18 June 2016

Could these adverts be titled

Could these adverts be titled 'Steve's jollies' in future? This isn't journalism, it's an essay about what Steve did on his holidays.
Scratch 18 June 2016

Special could become ordinary

That special lifestyle, it might be argued, would only be special for a short while, until it happened frequently enough to become the normal/ordinary. Driving an ancient 2CV could then be special. A bit cheaper too. And the tall plants could poke out of the fold back canvass roof.