Review: The 2019 Bentley Continental GT is beautiful, excessive and totally worth it

The Bentley Continental GT is iconic. The vehicle has long stood for excess and opulence, and I knew that going in. I expected the Continental GT to be over-engineered and capable of high-speed thrills. And it is, but there’s more.

The tester I’m driving costs $ 279,000. Of course it’s beautiful and fast and dripping with technology. It’s a Bentley. Inside and out, at high speed or low speed, the latest Continental GT exceeded all my expectations.

The machine glides over the road, powered by a mechanical symphony performing under the hood. The W12 engine is a dying breed, and it’s a shame. It’s stunning in its performance here. This is a 200 mph vehicle, but I didn’t hit those speeds. What surprised me the most is that I didn’t need to go fast. The new Continental GT is thrilling in a way that doesn’t require speed. It’s like a great set of speakers or exclusive liquor. Quality over quantity, and in this mechanical form, the quality is stunning.

Review

Bentley debuted the Continental GT in 2003 and retained a familiar form over the years. Its mission has remained constant: To be the very best grand touring car available. It’s held that crown on and off since 2003 as other cars entered the game. But with this latest revision, the crown has returned to Bentley. This is an astounding vehicle to take on a road trip. It’s like a private jet on the highway.

Under the long hood sits a massive W12 engine with twin turbos. The setup results in over 620 HP and 664-foot pounds of torque. And it knows how to translate those numbers to the payment. The engine pounds not like a stack of Marshall amps at a Motorhead concert, but pounds like a symphony playing Beethoven’s 5th with intensity.

The Bentley Continental GT performance is where it stands apart.

It glides as speeds reach illegal levels. There’s no drama from the transmission or argument from the engine. When the accelerator drops to the floor, a gateway opens in front of the Bentley, allowing it to transcend space and time as it exceeds posted speed limits.

The Bentley Continental GT lays out its power with the precision of an electric vehicle but the intensity of a street racer. The power delivery is unreal. Under normal driving modes, the transmission is hardly noticeable, and under strain of chasing a quarter mile, the shifts are barely noticeable as it arm wrestles the massive W12.

Driving the Bentley Continental GT is an exercise in restraint. At times, say, when coming’s out of a gnarly curve, you feel the need to slam the pedal to the floor and launch the car off the apex. But that would land you in jail. This is a car that could live its best life on a track, but it doesn’t need the track to be happy. Even driving the Continental GT to the golf course or office park is nearly a thrill.

The GT is just excellent. It inspires confidence and regal intrigue that’s often missing in many of its contemporaries.

Entering the latest Continental is like sinking behind the controls of a fantasy rocket ship. Brushed metal adorns the center stack and handcrafted wood and leather wrap the cabin. Adorable metal pulls control the vents, and machined knobs perform various functions.

The leather is soft and metal real. It’s the little things, too. The lume on the analog clock is fantastic and the wood grain matches throughout. The seats feature a lovely diamond pattern with multiple layers of embroidered detail. Don’t want to look at an LCD screen? Hit a button, and it rotates away, revealing a set of three analog gauges in its place.

However, throughout the Continental GT, there are odd choices of material. Example: The gear shift is plastic and creaks like a well-used toy. It’s an odd choice for a substantial touchpoint. It feels cheap in comparison to gear shifters in other vehicles. BMW, for instance, is using manufactured crystal in its new large SUV and it conveys a sense of stoutness missing in the Bentley’s.

Other plastic bits feel out of place. When sitting down, a bar extends from behind the seats, pushing the seatbelt within reach of the driver. It’s flimsy plastic. The handle on the outside feels loose. Even the key fob is underwhelming; I think the fob for my F-150 is more substantial.

I’m nitpicking, but the Bentley Continental GT costs north of $ 279,000.

The controls are familiar. The Bentley uses a lot of switch plates and instruments from Audi’s part’s bin though, in the Bentley, they’re chrome. The Audi theme continues to the digital instrument cluster where the shares the same design as the one found in most Audi’s. Expect a similar experience throughout. This isn’t a bad thing. Audi has one of the best interfaces available throughout the industry.

The 2019 Bentley Continental GT is unforgettable. It’s a beautiful combination of obscene power and luxury materials.

I took delivery of this tester on the eve of a long weekend and spent as much time in it as I could. It’s more comfortable than my house. The seats are supple and supportive. The dash impressive with its woodwork and analog dials. The power is intoxicating.

Cars like the Continental GT will likely continue to exist after electric vehicles become the norm. At least until the Earth runs out of oil. They have to. Cars like this will always be a luxury item. They have a soul missing from electric vehicles. There’s nothing like putting your foot down on a Bentley W12 and feeling the world come alive around you.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

The Automatica automates pour-over coffee in a charming and totally unnecessary way

Most mornings, after sifting through the night’s mail haul and skimming the headlines, I make myself a cup of coffee. I use a simple pour-over cone and paper filters, and (in what is perhaps my most tedious Seattleite affectation), I grind the beans by hand. I like the manual aspect of it all. Which is why this robotic pour-over machine is to me so perverse… and so tempting.

Called the Automatica, this gadget, currently raising funds on Kickstarter but seemingly complete as far as development and testing, is basically a way to do pour-over coffee without holding the kettle yourself.

You fill the kettle and place your mug and cone on the stand in front of it. The water is brought to a boil and the kettle tips automatically. Then the whole mug-and-cone portion spins slowly, distributing the water around the grounds, stopping after 11 ounces has been distributed over the correct duration. You can use whatever cone and mug you want as long as they’re about the right size.

Of course, the whole point of pour-over coffee is that it’s simple: you can do it at home, while on vacation, while hiking or indeed at a coffee shop with a bare minimum of apparatus. All you need is the coffee beans, the cone, a paper filter — although some cones omit even that — and of course a receptacle for the product. (It’s not the simplest — that’d be Turkish, but that’s coffee for werewolves.)

Why should anyone want to disturb this simplicity? Well, the same reason we have the other 20 methods for making coffee: convenience. And in truth, pour-over is already automated in the form of drip machines. So the obvious next question is, why this dog and pony show of an open-air coffee bot?

Aesthetics! Nothing wrong with that. What goes on in the obscure darkness of a drip machine? No one knows. But this — this you can watch, audit, understand. Even if the machinery is complex, the result is simple: hot water swirls gently through the grounds. And although it’s fundamentally a bit absurd, it is a good-looking machine, with wood and brass accents and a tasteful kettle shape. (I do love a tasteful kettle.)

The creators say the machine is built to last “generations,” a promise which must of course be taken with a grain of salt. Anything with electronics has the potential to short out, to develop a bug, to be troubled by humidity or water leaks. The heating element may fail. The motor might stutter or a hinge catch.

But all that is true of most coffee machines, and unlike those, this one appears to be made with care and high-quality materials. The cracking and warping you can expect in thin molded plastic won’t happen to this thing, and if you take care of it, it should at least last several years.

And it better, for the minimum pledge price that gets you a machine: $ 450. That’s quite a chunk of change. But like audiophiles, coffee people are kind of suckers for a nice piece of equipment.

There is of course the standard crowdfunding caveat emptor; this isn’t a pre-order but a pledge to back this interesting hardware startup, and if it’s anything like the last five or six campaigns I’ve backed, it’ll arrive late after facing unforeseen difficulties with machining, molds, leaks and so on.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

B&O’s Beoplay E8 totally wireless earbuds really are the total package

 Bang & Olufsen’s headphones tend to stand out from the crowd, and their new fully wireless mode, the Beoplay E8, is no exception. The E8 is easily the best totally wire-free headphone I’ve used thus far, with comfortable earbuds that should fit your regardless of your ear shape, good battery life of around four hours per charge, and the best sound quality of any true wireless… Read More

Gadgets – TechCrunch