After eating an excessively luxurious waterfront lunch, I got behind the wheel again. This leg was mostly through small towns and windy coastal roads. There was a lot of starting and stopping, but the GTC handled everything expertly. Tim took the wheel after a half-hour or so, and we almost immediately got lost.
At our morning “driver’s briefing,” they’d told us not to take a certain route because there was bridge construction and the cars weren’t insured for dust damage. We took a wrong turn and ended up on that route anyway. So we turned around. Now we were kind of lost.
I consulted the trip book while Tim drove fast and aggressively on tight, narrow country roads. The combination of his racecar driving, my book reading, and the several ounces of marinated octopus sloshing around in my belly created problems.
“Ohhh,” I said. “I don’t feel so good.”
“Do you need me to pull over?” Tim asked.
“No,” I said.
Tim took a couple of more turns, really sharp.
“Yes,” I said.
I got out, walked a few meters, bent down, and emptied the contents of my guts onto the fertile Croatian soil. As I did so, I remembered that they’d told me at the driver’s briefing not to walk too far away from the vehicle because the Croatian countryside still contained lots of unexploded landmines. But I felt so much better when I was done barfing.
From there, it was maybe another 30 miles to Pula Airport. The Bentley PR team called. They wanted to know where we were. Everyone else had already gone through security.
“In the back of my mind, I always tell myself, ‘I will survive this,’ Tim said. ‘But I hate making other people late.’”
The Bentley hummed gently, palpably. It was a living thing that could respond to our breath and our emotions.
“We’re going 100,” Tim said.
“Kilometers?” I said.
“Oh no,” he said. “Miles. And now we’re going 120.”
“I can’t feel a thing,” I said.
We passed through a toll. Tim gave the car a burst.
“And now we’re going 140.”
A blue warning light came on. Apparently, going 140 miles per hour was bad for the Bentley’s tire pressure. We got to the airport and parked at the curb, keys in, still running.
Thirty minutes later, I was on a private charter plane back to England, taking photos of the Alps with my phone, while some other junket journalist drove that GTC around Croatia.
2012 Bentley Continental GTC Facts and Figures
| Class:||Luxury Grand Tourer|
|Capacity:||4-passenger luxury sports coupe|
| Configuration:|| Front-engine, all-wheel drive|
| Engine:||W-12 turbo|
| Transmission:||6-speed automatic transmission|
| Power:||567 hp|
| Torque:|| 516 ft-lbs|
| Top speed:|| 195 mph|
| Zero to 60 mph:|| 4.5 seconds|
| Mileage:|| 11/19 mpg|
| Base price (including destination charges):|| $213,000|
| Bottom line:|| "This thing was unbelievable."|