We have cars in this issue that really show the way technology is more malleable than we initially thought. And worried about.
The Bentley Continental GT on our cover could have gone the way of the softest and most plush thing on the planet. But it didn’t. Bentley decided to be true to themselves and the whole idea of a Grand Tourer. They took systems like the high-voltage quick-quick-response suspension components that helped tame the weight and mass of the Bentayga and used them to more finely tune the lighter, lower Continental GT. All the technology has made this car the best driving, most engaging Continental GT ever, thanks in no small part to the fact that Crewe and Stuttgart worked together from day one. It’s funny; the realization that the car was so comfortable came after driving it pretty hard (for a Bentley). Maybe it was the extremes that helped us define things.
We also have the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. As you know, we thoroughly enjoyed the GT2 RS a little while back, and if you’ve seen our call for what we would rather have, if if if. The normally aspirated GT3 RS takes technology and uses it to improve driver engagement and enjoyment while still keeping safety systems operational. This was what we all complained about before and indeed had to change our driving styles sometimes in order to keep the controls from jumping in on our attempts to look cool. And drive faster.
Now, besides the way the Conti GT drove and rode and how good and skilled the GT3 RS made me look, what we were thinking about was actually… autonomous driving. The Bentley did such an awesome job on the front passenger seat of the new Conti GT that it was almost a shame to ruin it with things like a steering wheel. It was a thoroughly pleasant space in which to spend time. Especially after we spun the rotating screen away to see just the wood and leather trim. No question, if the world begins accepting autonomous, then people like Bentley are ready for it in terms of their brand identity and DNA. And with Porsche, the discussion was more like “you can drive if you want, but you may not want to park or drive in traffic on the way home.” They talked about working with places like parking garages and even their own service facilities to handle the more mundane tasks. Very interesting.
This all came about as I have been reading up on artificial intelligence, and on how it can more deeply affect our future. Which is scary. But probably unstoppable. Anyway, what is positive is the fact that in order to make themselves special, the car companies (at least some of them) are trying even harder to make their offerings unique and true to their heritage or vision. Technology is helping that.