The car devours millpond-flat dual-carriageway in Comfort mode, but with the gentle and cushioned ride to which Bentley regulars will be well used.
It can devour B-roads in the same mode and fashion, and without ever coming close to running out of body control, but it doesn’t feel much more meaningfully athletic or ‘sporting’ than its predecessor thusly configured.
The Continental GT also has a ‘Bentley’ driving mode. There is certainly a step up for the car, evidenced in terms of handling agility and body control. It’s the mode the car defaults to, and it’s the one most testers said they’d use for most journeys – with one or two preferring an à la carte Custom setting, mixing in either the softer suspension settings of Comfort or its weightier Sport steering settings, or both.
The greatest success of the adaptive suspension and active roll control systems is to so cleverly juggle and cradle the Continental GT’s body, and to put its various contact patches to work, that you’re hardly aware of the car’s mass, until you begin to approach the limit of grip at least.
There’s just enough heft in the controls and enough momentary pause about its initial steering response to make you aware that you’re driving a big car; a bigger– feeling one, certainly, than most GT coupés. But, on the road at least, the car’s grip level is high, its poise plain and its stability unflappable.
On the track, once you can approach the limit of adhesion, the car’s dynamic limitations become clearer; as does the fact that, technically upheaved or otherwise, the GT still doesn’t quite have the outright handling balance of a DB11 V12.
Despite weighing nearly 400kg more than the Aston Martin, the car is less than 2sec slower around the dry handling circuit but more than 5sec faster around the shorter wet track.
In slippery conditions, the car finds huge traction and grip and is balanced and composed. In the dry, though, with greater speed and lateral forces, that poise begins to fade and the car understeers – albeit predictably and manageably – at cornering speeds at which rivals probably wouldn’t. The car’s handling adjustability is clear, though.
In second- and third-gear corners, the drivetrain allows you to neutralise the car’s attitude with power or to develop a slide instigated on a trailing throttle. And you couldn’t do either with the last GT.