Lake Bell Test Drives the 2012 Bentley Continental GT

Joe Pugliese

"This beast is so tight, you'd think it did Pilates," writes the actress and THR columnist.

Now I know what it's like to have a trophy wife. I had a torrid affair with a candy apple red Bentley Continental GT coupe. Do I care what people think? No! She makes me feel alive.

My conspicuous eight-day Bentley test drive commenced with the one and only occasion on which I've been adjacent to an open-top Hollywood Tours van and had a tourist excitedly point at me. (Though I have a feeling said tourist subsequently whispered to her partner, "Oh my God, that's the girl from Something's Gotta Give!") Did I mind? Of course not. Firstly, Amanda Peet is hot. Secondly, when you have a 6.0-liter W-12 looker on your hands, you want everyone to gaze at her -- and you -- for that matter. This car has the power to make you a showoff. Maybe that's why every time I pass someone driving in a Bentley, I check them out because, likely, they kind of deserve it.

Despite my more recent impressions of the brand's "bling" luxury personality, Bentley's heritage is rooted in high performance sportiness, which isn't absent from this all-wheel-drive super machine. My automotive guru (and father) Harvey Siegel reminds me that the brand was known for tourers with thicker springs, harder shock absorbers and tighter suspensions. The GT harkens back to those roots with a growling, twin-turbocharged engine that pumps out 567 horsepower while maintaining the voluptuous curves for which Bentley is also known.

On the last day of my affair, I nearly fainted to find part of the front lower plastic grill missing. Once I was done having a heart attack envisioning all the ways the Bentley folks would have me assassinated, I investigated. Without any sign of theft -- nor a nick to indicate it'd been hit while parked -- I realized the piece had just, well, fallen off. I couldn't decide if I should be disappointed that a car with an as-tested price of $205,890 couldn't handle a couple of city potholes or if I should brag to my dad that I drove a Bentley so hard that it broke.

Did my trophy wife lose some of her allure once she lost one of her plastic parts? Maybe a smidge. But I'm digging for dirt on this car. It's virtually flawless. So what if there are a couple of screws loose on the lower grill? This beast is so tight, you'd think it did Pilates.

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