Grand Touring

There I was getting on a plane to France – or so I thought. Luckily the result of my plans going sideways was that a short while later I gently alighted from a small jet in the mid-afternoon sun of Pula, Croatia, sporting a cheeky grin and more than a little jet-lag. Rovinj (above) where we were being put up was a small coastal gem that reminded me much of the Italian and French Rivieras. Paul Jones, Bentley’s incredibly knowledgeable head of product development, spent much of the first afternoon introducing us to the finer points of Bentley’s new Continental GTC.

A veritable tour-de-force on paper, and a looker when we first caught sight of her in situ, it remained to be seen if she truly measured up once we got behind the wheel.It goes without saying that the number of permutations of paint, interior and extra optional goodies on the GTC makes the mind boggle. But by then it was cocktail-o’clock so we set off with a bunch of local pirates (below) for a trip around the bay and a few light lemonades as a precursor to an interactive dinner.

A new friend was introduced to me there in the form of a white wine I’d never even heard of, let alone tried.Apparently Malvazia is the grape of choice for white on this side of the Adriatic, and a rather fine tipple it was too. After one or three I set my alarm for the A.M. and drifted off into the land of nod to dreams consisting mostly of me with a devilish grin, the GTC and vast expanses of perfect tarmac – with not a rozzer to be seen from here to eternity…

Words by: DUNCAN QUINN

The dream was somewhat derailed after a minor setback the next morning courtesy of RIM, when I discovered that my blackberry had failed to realize I’d changed continents and thus I was a little behind schedule after my run around the peninsula. But not to worry.I soon got to business testing my theory that all this chat of flat torque curves, the stiffest chassis of any available convertible, and the rumble of about 600 horses at the behest of my right foot would make for some serious fun.

And indeed it did.The rest of the day flew by in a blur of beautiful twisty roads, incredible scenery, truffles and flagrant disregard for the 40 mph speed limit posted every so often on the all-but-deserted roads we used to challenge the performance of this topless tidal wave on wheels. The tech specs for this beauty are amazing, and while a little Rubenesque for some reason blasting around in the new GTC made me recall consuming a fine white Burgundy opposite Christina Hendricks at Café Boulud a few months back.

Neither Ms. Hendricks nor the GTC could be accused of being waifelike, and nor would we want them to be. In fact, if I were a betting man, I’d be willing to wager my hat that most of the gentleman rogues I know would jump at the chance of a dirty weekend somewhere sunny, scenic and steeped in culture with either Ms. Hendricks or the GTC.And preferably both. With their tops off.

Was I caught up in the moment? Absolutely.And just like having a fun date with a beautiful girl in a beautiful place I’m sure she was all the sexier for it. But nonetheless even back in the real world you wouldn’t say no.And nor would I….

Words by DUNCAN QUINN