Even though I own a 2004 Bentley Continental GT, I’ve never actually driven one. My car struggled just to make it around the block for its introductory video 6 months ago, and it’s been in pieces at my mechanic’s shop ever since. I purchased it without ever driving one before, so when I was offered this 2014 Continental GTC Speed for a video, it was truly my first introduction to the Bentley experience. I came away with mixed feelings — I and certainly understand why these cars depreciate massively in such a short time.
This 2014 "Speed" model had an original window sticker of over $250,000. Less than 4 years later, it was purchased from a dealer in San Diego, where it was listed for only $119,000. It seems ridiculous for the original owner to take such a big hit — but this is pretty normal depreciation for a new Bentley. Despite this drop-top being 10 years newer than my Continental GT, there are plenty of similarities. Both have a twin-turbo W12 engines putting out staggering power levels — with top speeds of over 200 miles per hour — though that statistic is pretty useless, as these 5,000-pound land yachts would struggle to keep up in a 0-to-60 race with a new Ford Mustang GT. Both share a similar Volkswagen-based platform and a lot of Volkswagen bits — but the interior is still gorgeous.
The GTC Speed clearly shows Bentley is still on top of its game, with top-notch materials, excellent fit and finish and the rich smell of, well, what I imagine rich people would smell like. While this British marque has never wavered on delivering the best, the competition from lesser luxury brands has gotten much better. Mercedes, BMW and even Britian’s own Jaguar have figured out how to create interiors in their mass-produced cars that look just as custom — and high-quality. An even bigger surprise is the Koreans, who managed to pull off a pretty decent Bentley imitation with their Genesis G80 and G90 models.
Recently, Hyundai chose to drop their own moniker on their luxury sedans, and replaced it with a winged genesis badge, which bares more than a passing resemblance to the Bentley "Flying B." The interior of the Genesis, while lacking all of the expensive metal bits and quilted leather, looks more modern than the Bentley’s interior — and it easily looks like it belongs in a car worth over six figures. I imagine if you told non-car people it was the new Bentley Genesis, they wouldn’t give it a second thought. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a new brand that ranges from $40,000 to $70,000. I actually owned a 2012 Genesis sedan in the past — and after replacing all the Hyundai badges for the wings, people did regularly ask if it was a Bentley. I’m truly not making this up.
Still, after driving this Bentley, I can totally understand why someone would be willing to pay $250,000 for it — and take the massive hit after a few years. While the owner will never have the opportunity to drive this 616-horsepower 5500-lb rolling work of art over 200 mph with the top down, knowing that you possess something capable of this must be pretty satisfying. These same people don’t buy a Rolex Submariner over a Seiko because they plan on doing deep-sea diving, but because it’s cool to own a fancy watch that’s capable of still ticking at the bottom of the ocean (or after being shot by a rocket to the moon).
I’m sure clever marketing and brand perception play a hand in keeping the Bentley appearing above the rest of the luxury riffraff as well — but this matters very little to me. If I ever get my Continental GT running properly, I’m most looking forward to having the land-yacht, luxury-first approach Bentley takes with their cars all to myself. I really hope my mechanic, the car wizard, gets my basket case going soon. Find a used Bentley Continental for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.