Climb behind the wheel of the new apple-green 2013 Continental GT Speed, and whatever notions you have about driving a Bentley go out the powered window. The car will make you grin from ear to ear—and that gleeful feeling ratchets up on Germany’s infamous Autobahn, where speed limits matter little. The $215,000 Continental GT Speed (bentleymotors.com) can hit 205 miles per hour, but traffic concerns constrained us to a comfortable 140 miles per hour. The two-door sedan boasts a six-liter, twin-turbo W-12 engine and can sprint from zero to 60 miles per hour in four seconds. You won’t, however, feel like a rocket man—the super-smooth ride made it feel as though we were well below an American speed limit.
Our road trip began after a night’s stay at the elegant Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich (Promenadeplatz 2–6; 49-89-21-20-0; bayerischerhof.de). The next destination was the InterContinental Resort overlooking Berchtesgaden (Hintereck 1; 1-800-652-3705; ichotelsgroup.com), an area famous for being Adolf Hitler’s Alpine retreat. The InterContinental is built on the site of a villa once owned by Nazi henchman Hermann Göring. Though some scribes have dubbed travel to Berchtesgaden a trip to “evil mountain,” 50 years of allied occupation seems to have quieted the ghosts of World War II. The hotel is lovely and home to some stunning views.
Back on the road, we realized there are few seats more luxurious for enjoying the Bavarian countryside than the one in the Bentley GT Speed. The cabin interior features diamond-quilted, perforated leather on all four seats, door trims and rear-quarter panels. An eight-inch touch screen controls navigation and entertainment options, among them an impressive 11-speaker setup from Naim, the British audio company.
The return trip included a detour through parts of the Austrian Alps, where the car exhibited superb handling capabilities, particularly in the sport mode, on the windy road leading to a delicious coffee-and-strudel break across the border at the Feuriger Tatzlwurm Hotel Resort & Spa (D-83080 Oberaudorf; 49-80-34-3008-0; tatzlwurm.de), which is named for a mythical cat-size Alpine dragon and located in Oberaudorf, Germany. Everyone smiled as the Continental GT Speed pulled away, and while the car does indeed take the cake (or, in this case, strudel?), Bentley doesn’t have a lock on fast autos. Take a look at these other models—from the likes of Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Jaguar—and hit the road.