Best of British

I&rsquo;M CURRENTLY feeling like a WAG. To clarify, this is purely down to my current motor, and not because I&rsquo;ve hooked up with a Chelsea striker.<br /><br />You see I&rsquo;m driving around in a Bentley (times are hard). I haven&rsquo;t been in one for a long time and I&rsquo;ve always associated them with elder statesmen, people in their twilight years. Now, more often than not it&rsquo;s footballers and international playboys you find behind the wheel.<br /><br />I&rsquo;ve always thought a Bentley rather ostentatious, like a Rolls-Royce. What person needs to pronounce their arrival with such a vulgar statement of insecurity? But my view of the Goodwood-based car-maker changed comprehensively when I drove a new Phantom across Namibia &ndash; as you do &ndash; back in 2005. What a waste, I thought, to use this as a city-tool, from office to club. What a waste to have a chauffer.<br /><br />And now, here I am in central London watching as the delivery driver reverses &pound;168,000 worth of Bentley off the back of an equally impressive truck. Even the doormen of the Grosvenor Square hotel have stopped to watch. But what am I going to do with it all day while I go to and from appointments? Parking in London is stupidly expensive.<br /><br /><strong>ROOF DOWN</strong><br /><br />The phone rings. It&rsquo;s a motoring pal who had driven this car and got it up to 200mph with the roof down, and says I should do the same. Not very likely on the Tottenham Court Road, I think. He adds smugly at the end of the conversation that he achieved it on the Nardo Ring, possibly the fastest and steepest banked circuit in the world, in southern Italy. Add to that the fact that it was dry and sunny there, and we all know what the weather&rsquo;s like here at the moment. Armageddon.<br /><br />A 6.0 litre twin turbocharged W12 engine lies underneath the expansive front end, and boy are you ever made aware of that when you press the start button. The entire car rocks with a cacophonous volley &ndash; followed by a sudden exodus of Christmas shoppers.<br /><br />Before I launched myself at the horizon, I adjusted the seat and steering wheel from the comfort of the diamond-quilted hide seat and selected D on the automatic transmission. I gently wafted my right foot over the accelerator pedal, blinked and found myself in Reading. Or so it felt. Actually, I drove to Chelsea.<br /><br />In this car everybody assumes you&rsquo;re &ldquo;the wife&rdquo;, off to lunch at Mosimann&rsquo;s in Belgravia &ndash; where, incidentally, there is a private room named after the marque. But I&rsquo;m not a wife and I don&rsquo;t have two minors to stick in the &ldquo;plus two&rdquo; rear seats. No, I am a girl who finds herself bonding with this car, which is quickly blowing away the old cliches associated with Bentley.<br /><br /><strong>SPORTY</strong><br /><br />Nudge the lever down the tunnel to Sport mode, firm up the ride with the press of a button and I&rsquo;ve been transformed into Sporty Barbie. The exhaust note has risen by several decibels and when you lift off the accelerator the crackling can be likened to a multi-gun salute &ndash; it sounds absolutely bloody fantastic. The six-speed paddle-shift here is smoother than smooth when you feel the urge, but staying fully automatic is just as rewarding.<br /><br />The GTC Speed has epic power for a car with such colossal weight &ndash; a whopping 610bhp in a motor weighing 2.7 tonnes. It is also made with sublime craftsmanship. Everything is padded and deep, stitched and edged &ndash; including the optional heated steering wheel. The brushed aluminium fascia and console is reminiscent of Bentley&rsquo;s aeronautical past &ndash; it made aeroplane engines in the First World War &ndash; including the air-vent closure knobs.<br /><br />I may not have made 200mph with the roof down, but I can tell you I had a good go. I can also tell you that the current driving conditions tested its traction and stability to the limit and it is mind-blowingly grippy and sure-footed.<br /><br />So that&rsquo;s just it. Owning something like this, Bentley&rsquo;s fastest convertible to date, is not a bold statement of insecurity. It&rsquo;s gorgeous to be in and stunningly powerful. I understand the logic now. And I&rsquo;ll take wife-hood if it means I get the car.<br /><strong><br />THE FACTS:</strong><br />BENTLEY <br />CONTINENTAL <br />GTC SPEED<br /><br /><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp; &pound;175,681<br /><strong>0-100mph:</strong>&nbsp; 4.3 secs<strong><br />Top speed:</strong>&nbsp; 191 mph<br /><strong>CO2 g/km:</strong> 388g/km<br /><strong>MPG Combined:</strong> 16.4