By: Ted Macauley
Picture the scene. The romantic Riviera. Nice international airport. Arrivals. As Trophy Wife and I await our Vuittons, a tap comes on the shoulder, followed by: “Mr Macauley? Your helicopter captain is waiting.”
Could there be an invitation to match that? Well, yes, one. But more of that later.
It came a week after a good friend’s whirlybird had touched us down on the flight deck of his ocean-goer. Twelve suites and a crew of 14 for a cruise between Monte Carlo and Portofino.
Over the onboard master chef’s supreme venison dinner, our host ventured that rival offer: “Ted, would you like to drive my Bentley back to Monaco?”
Sun-worshipping Trophy Wife opted for a stay and a restful sail back from Portofino, while I, knowing she wouldn’t be on hand to keep me in check on the 100-mile road romp in absolute luxury and striving to hide my glee, burbled: “Anything I can do; only too pleased to help all I can.”
The car, a real object of desire, was a creamy, dreamy soft-top Continental GTC, five-star-plus luxury on wheels.
If ever there was a golden opportunity for a bout of show-offery this was it in tip-top shape, and I was being trusted to safely deliver it, mastering a mix of winding coastal cliff-top roads and straight-line motorway stretches amid a mass of envious motorists eager to tempt me to push it to the limit.
Not that I got even close to the 187mph top-end speed or dared throw it too heroically into the mostly blind corners on the narrow Mediterranean-view roads.
But whatever I asked it to do it responded balletically, superbly.
Acceleration… braking… cornering…sauntering… none of it troubled the cosseting four-wheel drive chassis. You would never have guessed it weighs in at 2.5 tonnes.
The leather and wood finish seats are comfort zones that take the backache out of the longest trek, and the sat-nav is the finest find-your-way example on the motor market. It would most certainly give the rival Ferraris and Maseratis a good run for their money.
Now I know what it feels like to be one of the those blessed zillionaire Premier League footballers who populate the exclusive estates around my Surrey, UK, home with Bentley supercars on their drives.
Well, I did for at least half a day.
Specification: Continental GTC
Engine: W12 BHP 500
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 187mph
Price: S$850,000 before COE and options