8

Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

The engine-turned aluminium trim in the GT Speed’s cabin is a metaphor for the whole car. Even if you detest similarly racy metallic finishes in every other diesel hatchback and hybrid crossover with the vaguest of performance intentions, you’ll find it beautiful to behold and instantly disarming of any harboured cynicism.

It is so lovely that it renders moot how much weight it may add or how much it might cost – which is what so much else about the car does. This is a performance derivative like few others.

You sit in a superbly comfortable and adjustable seat with enough bolstering to keep your backside in place when driving hard, but not a hint too much. The seat may not quite be low-enough set for those who like to feel really at one with the movements of a car’s chassis, but it offers plenty of room around you, grants decent visibility (the wide pillars and roof are notable but not huge adverse factors) and is trimmed in a tactile, visually appealing style. The GT Speed’s rear seats remain.

They’re more useful than you find in most 2+2 coupés but still tricky to access and only really comfortable for kids or smaller adults. The boot could accommodate a couple of medium-sized suitcases and soft bags, but beyond a ski hatch it doesn’t offer seat-folding, through-loading functionality.

Almost without exception, what looks like metal here also feels like it: cool on a chilly morning and possibly beaded with moisture when the air conditioning is working hard. This cabin is full of tactile, knurled finishes and offers one of the most materially solid, lavish and special-feeling interiors in the automotive world.

Back to top

But its lavishness also makes it functional in some ways. With an entirely leather-covered upper dashboard, for example, there are few surfaces to reflect light into your eyes and few exposed edges to collect dust.

Infotainment and sat-nav

Bentley’s 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system looks and works very much like the one you get in a Porsche Panamera, but it’s hard to fault for usability. There’s a small scroll wheel and plenty of physical menu shortcut keys for those who don’t like to prod away at a screen; and for those who do, the column navigation on the right margin of the screen works well, too.

The rotating display feature is optional and not cheap (£4865). But that’s because the screen is replaced by a line of classic dials when it’s folded away (compass, outside thermometer, stopwatch). It consists of more than 150 parts, it works near silently and it fits beautifully into the dashboard. It also had to be engineered to be able to flip around and display the image from the reversing camera within two seconds of the driver selecting reverse gear (a legal requirement in some markets).

Moreover, simply being able to fold the screen away when you know where you’re going, or don’t want distractions from the outside world, really does feel like luxury.