Currently reading: Bentley Continental GT long-term test review: four-wheel drive vs mud
It always makes an entrance, but can it make an exit from a muddy field?

Our Bentley Continental GT tackles a muddy field.

As it always does on special occasions, the Bentley seemed perfect for this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed — except for one thing.

It was bucketing down, and those already at the event kept sending us back lurid tales of floods and mud, wall to wall.

Call me old-fashioned, but the notion of tackling such conditions in your low-slung, £80,000 high-performance GT doesn’t sit very well.

We veterans of the British summer have learned to fear one thing above all: being parked in wet fields we’ll probably have extreme trouble leaving at the end of the day. But one important detail made the Bentley’s case different: it has four-wheel drive.

I arrived at gate-opening time to find our appointed entrance, Gate 4, firmly shut. There was a detour sign to an alternative muddy track through the trees.

The Bentley strolled imperiously down it with zero wheelspin. Soon I learned that the hacks’ usual parking area was so wet that the early arrivals had started sliding sideways downhill, so they’d closed it pronto.

Bentley 13th 973

Thus we scribblers joined the competitors at lower levels, in a flatter but very wet field, into which my car’s considerable weight caused it to sink alarmingly.

Back I came eight hours later to find the exits much muddier and the Bentley looking very low indeed. Young men in white vans were sliding about on the grass, although no one was actually bogged.

I started the Bentley, selected Drive and the car glided easily out of the four depressions it had made, tracking straight through the mud without a suggestion of wheelspin.

In 100 yards we were free and I felt that familiar flood of exultation of the driver whose car has exceptional traction. You might need extra grip for only a few seconds, but when you do, it’s vital.

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I spent the trip home reflecting on the sheer versatility of this car, a 190mph GT whose looks match its potential, with back seats and a generous boot, the ability to turn up to 26.7mpg if you try (the figure it returned from the Goodwood outing).

Oh, yes, and four-wheel drive. This time, it really mattered.

Quality inside

Bentley log

An enduring delight with our Bentley is its quality. The materials are not only of the best quality but also quietly advertise the fact.

That’s more than you can say for other cars that too obviously save money where your eyes don’t always fall. There’s a feeling of quiet integrity about the Conti’s construction that I enjoy whenever I drive.

Sports exhaust

Bentley log2

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We’ve fitted a sports exhaust to our Bentley and it’s such an ideal mix of inspiring noise and retained refinement that we’d recommend it.

When you’re cruising, there’s no boom; when you accelerate, the noise is restrained but deep. Only drawback is that there’s no noise difference whether you select Drive or Sport, as there previously was.

Bentley Continental GT V8 (2013)

Price new £125,000 Price now £80,000 Economy 21.5mpg Faults Exhaust rattle, broken tyre valve Expenses None

Read our previous long-term reports:

The Conti lifestyle

City slicker

Enjoying an elastic V8

First report

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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Ski Kid 4 August 2016

I would not say it was old ,probably still under warranty

I could understand if you areecommenting on a 10 year old car with 100k miles but this should be nearly new ,not sure the miles.And if that were not thwe case it would be a crap car,an odd bush or so is probably a wear and teat item ,can you imagine what the reapir list is in A Veyron,Ferrari or lambo.i bet it would be bushes this and springs that galore.
jer 4 August 2016


Often wonder about if these older cars actually drive feels like new. After all a bush is a bush and they wear out. Do they feel slacker despite the polished paint? I notice that cars feel far worse after about 40k miles. The shocks and damping aren't as good the brakes the chassis seems to have more flex. I suppose its the same with a Bentley no matter how nice the clock and paintwork are?