Chris Harris video: Bentley Conti vs Audi S4

Enjoyable though it may be orchestrating the multiple brands of the VW group, ensuring that each has its own space in the market and a distinct personality must be a constant battle.

The new Bentley Continental Speed is in many ways an outright attack on Newton's laws. It weighs 2.4 tonnes, has 625hp and yet somehow manages to go around corners extremely fast. It's probably the best fast GT car in the correct sense of the designation.

Relations of sorts but just how close?
Relations of sorts but just how close?
I drove one a few weeks back, a few hours later I drove a new Audi S4 and was struck by how many similarities there were. Not direct comparative stuff, but subtler genetic traits that made me wonder if there it might be something worth exploring.

Two VW products that sit on opposite sides of the The Empire - how much do they have in common? And if so, is that a positive or a negative situation?

All rather serious, but hopefully it'll calm those who say we destroy too many tyres.

Enjoy the vid!


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Comments (84) Join the discussion on the forum

  • V8 FOU 13 Mar 2013

    Very interesting and thought provoking.
    It would, to me, seem inevitable that cars like these would have similar characteristics coming from the same group.
    But character? No. Not either. Drive the last of the "proper" Bentleys and you would feel great character.

    But many people don't want or think about character in a car. So for £40K they buy the Audi and those who want to be a deal more flash/bling etc buy the Bentley. The Bentely is safe, un dramatic, supercar ownership.

  • 405dogvan 13 Mar 2013

    I've driven a couple of Contis (and one Spur) and only 2 things really leapt-out at me

    1 - THE SPEED - I'm not kidding, the throttle is connected to a bomb of some sort - very, very little comes close and nothing does it with so little effort.
    2 - they're not the nice places to sit I'd been led to believe

    If you've gotten out of a VW or Audi and get into a Bentley - oh yes, it's so much better BUT

    If you've been in a classic Bentley or RR or even Jaguar or Aston at their peak, things aren't so great. The switches are nicely trimmed but they're attached to stock VW "B surface" - the leather is nice but it's that modern 'waxy' leather so beloved of german makers and not the fantastically rich and expensive feeling stuff you used to see in RRs and Bentleys. What you have, in effect, is Bentley's hand-crafted skill applied on-top of bits from a Golf - abeit a posh one.

    I also think their association with footballers (one of the cars I drove belonged to a premiership player and I appeared in the local paper 'as him' when someone snapped me dropping it off!) and TOWIE types actually harms more than it helps - I don't think that thing stands comparison to a classic Bentley in terms of 'Bentleyness' at all and if it didn't have the 'Cheshire Couture' thing it would be a car almost entirely without a market.

    Of course it goes so much better than a classic Bentley and there is the crux of Chris's issue - because if you remove all the foibles and make every car's drivetrain tractable, their steering perfectly weighted, their gearshifts slick and their ride lovely - every car will feel exactly the same!

    Because what made them different before, was their flaws, but a German company would never leave those in, would it? See also Lamborghini...

    p.s. the handbrake buttons being the same place is hardly suspicious - handbrakes used to live in the same place didn't they? smile

  • Mermaid 13 Mar 2013

    S4 - amazingly competent and great value especially if you buy one a few years old. Very much liked the old V8 manual.

  • DMC2 13 Mar 2013

    Well done Chris, your videos are getting better an better. Top marks.

  • St John Smythe 13 Mar 2013

    Interesting video, enjoyed that smile

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