The Bentley Continental GT Speed Is Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year

The Bentley Continental GT Speed Is Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year

Lamborghini Huracán STO

Robb Rice

It corners like a gold-medal bobsled team. —Joe Laux

As William Shakespeare noted in Henry IV, Part II, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Automobili Lamborghini’s reign over our event the past few years has been a testament to the marque’s determination to bolster an already powerful line. This year’s entry, the Huracán Super Trofeo Omologata (STO), marks the highest-performing variant of the model that will be built (or so we’ve been assured)—a street-legal distillation of the Super Trofeo Evo and Huracán GT3 Evo racers that more than a few judges found unapologetically raw and intimidating.
“The platform was much better in the previous versions,” said Brent Bellotte, who found that the automaker had “removed everything that made the car a drivable exotic.” Ezra Henson came to a similar conclusion, explaining that “what it has in exterior styling and speed, it lacks with the interior and driving comfort.” Julio Cantillo wrote off one deficiency to pragmatism: “Rear visibility is my only complaint, but the good news is you won’t need to look behind you much.”
Despite falling off the throne, the Lamborghini Huracán still had plenty of devotees. “This is a genie on four wheels; your wish is its command,” said Lindsay Faldo. Its motorsport-inspired athleticism was also a crowd-pleaser. “It corners like a gold-medal bobsled team,” Joe Laux noted, while Alex Bard was “fairly sure that if it had enough runway, it might take off.” And Steve Couig gushed, “If the Ferrari made me giggle while ripping through the gears, the Huracán commanded outright laughter.” With little real-world versatility, the Huracán, in the view of Robb Report’s automotive team, is made for the most competent, confident drivers who don’t care how much attention they attract. Perhaps like judge Don Barry, who said driving it felt like “sitting in a saddle attached to a meteor.”
ENGINE: 5.2-liter, naturally aspirated V-10POWER: 631 hp @ 8,000 rpm0-60 MPH: 2.8 secTOP SPEED: 193 mphBASE PRICE: $327,838PRICE AS TESTED: $404,533 (Napa) $392,133 (Boca)

3. Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost

Robb Rice

Handles like a dream. Smooth as a Steph Curry three-pointer. —Scott Kotick

Perhaps not since the US defeated England in the 1950 World Cup has there been an upset like the one at the 2021 edition of Car of the Year, when the revised Rolls-Royce Ghost earned equal standing on the podium with Lamborghini’s Huracán Evo RWD Spyder. Such a sea change in perception mirrors that of the British automaker’s increasingly younger consumer base (now averaging 43 years of age), owed in large part to the introduction of the Black Badge trim package, with its edgier aesthetic and more intimidating power delivery.
Understandably, the new Black Badge Ghost also summoned quite a following among the judges this time around.
“Most cars simply show up; this automobile arrives,” said Ryan McKay about the model variant, which Penske Media Corp.’s Gerry Byrne noted was “very comfortable, very… everything.” Though passengers have long had their senses engaged by Rolls, this is a car for drivers. “Handles like a dream. Smooth as a Steph Curry three-pointer,” said Scott Kotick, while Hall of Fame golfer Sir Nick Faldo observed that “you can drive it as if it’s your waltz partner; its balance is stunning.”
The all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, however, go only so far in masking the vehicle’s over 18-foot length and 5,490-pound weight. “This car is too big for me,” Andrew Wesson said, and Kylie White thought the Ghost in general “seems overdone and unapproachable.” Steve Couig went as far as to call the ride “squishy” and was of the opinion that “Rolls-Royce appears to be having a tough time staying relevant.” But more of the feedback was closer to what was given by Jean Marie Eschmendia-Kouri, who pronounced it “the best car I’ve ever driven in my life.” In the view of Robb Report’s automotive editors, the Black Badge Ghost is masterfully designed and engineered to be a true oasis—a car that, in and of itself, could mark the renaissance of the sedan.
ENGINE: 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12POWER: 591 hp @ 5,000 rpm0-60 MPH: 4.5 secTOP SPEED: 155 mph (limited)BASE PRICE: $395,000PRICE AS TESTED: $484,950

2. Ferrari 812 GTS

Robb Rice

Get one while you can—this is an investment, not a depreciating asset! —Andrew Chase

Talk about a narrow race! With 70 points out of a possible 80, the Ferrari 812 GTS missed the winner’s circle by a single point. Unanimously the top pick of Robb Report’s automotive editors, who found the model to be at the confluence of legacy and outer limits, it was the judges’ second overall. Number crunching aside, the Ferrari won hearts with its combination of performance, refinement, looks and such intangibles as its wow factor and predicted future collectibility. Importantly, the 812 GTS has the most powerful naturally aspirated production-car engine ever made and is a reminder that no sound or sensation compares to a Ferrari V-12 winding out to redline. This model has a retractable hard top that makes it a car for all seasons, and when it comes to personalization, the Prancing Horse knows how to accommodate its clients; ours had $140,000 in options, including a $33,000 Blu Ahrabian metallic paint job. In short, there was a lot to like.
Many judges homed in on driving as a multisensory pursuit, and Ferrari’s primacy in satisfying one sense in particular. Peter Li called out the “lovely sound of a naturally aspirated V-12,” while Joshua Greenman advised, “It’s worth it for the sound alone.” Former fighter pilot Mike Lackey said the GTS “feels like an F-14 in Zone 5 afterburner, and we didn’t even attempt the higher-end settings. The sound of the engine, both accelerating and decelerating, screams high-performance sports car… a true symphony for the ears.” Jim Shay enthused, “Love it! The best balance of raw power and luxury.” Similarly, Hugi Hilmisson was enraptured by what he termed the “biblical soundtrack” and noted that the Ferrari “doesn’t have the handling of a car with a mid-mounted engine but still feels extremely agile.” Lee Oleinick appreciated the “insane power and noise,” adding, “it handles like a true race car but unfortunately includes the jarring ride.” Mark Newman expressed mixed feelings, too, calling it “a world-class car but not that comfortable for a long drive, with seats that are too firm and suspension that’s too harsh for a GT cruiser.”
Another weakness: “The dash and five-year-old instruments need updating,” Tim Rogers suggested, and Justin Baldwin seconded the opinion.
But for Matteo Atti, those quibbles didn’t matter. “I’m in love,” he declared. “Sometimes Italians really do it better.” Andrew Chase considered the 812 GTS from a broader perspective, advising, “Get one while you can—this is an investment, not a depreciating asset!”
Our editors recognized the connection between the 812 GTS and such classic Ferraris as the 275 GTB and 365 GTB/4 “Daytona.” Roger Cary also saw a timeless lesson, saying, “This car helped me to understand: If you are not driving your dream car, go back to work.”
ENGINE: 6.5-liter, normally aspirated V-12POWER: 789 hp @ 8,500 rpm0-60 MPH: 2.8 secTOP SPEED: 211 mphBASE PRICE: $397,544PRICE AS TESTED: $534,835

1. Bentley Continental GT Speed

Photo by Robb Rice.

The perfect blend of beauty, power and grace. —Garrett Calacci

For the graduate heralded as “most likely to succeed,” the pressure to live up to expectations can be a springboard to accomplishment—or an albatross. Bentley has experienced both. The 102-year-old marque garnered early motorsport acclaim before suffering numerous financial setbacks and being absorbed by rival Rolls-Royce at one point. Since falling under the auspices of the Volkswagen Group in 1998, though, the baronial automaker has unlocked a new level of potential manifested by one model in particular, the Bentley Continental GT—a car that took our top honor in 2004.
The years since have further refined this grand tourer in engineering and elegance, resulting in the Speed variant, which the Robb Report editorial team described as channeling the spirit of Le Mans within a sanctuary worthy of Kublai Khan. That seductive combination, presented as a convertible and a coupe in Napa and Boca, respectively, wooed the majority of our judges. The Bentley Continental GT Speed is Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year.
Most compelling was how the two-door’s parkour-worthy agility belied its over 5,000-pound curb weight. “Have you ever seen an elephant tap-dancing? Today, I have,” said Jean-Marc Bories. “The four-wheel steering is what made all the difference in the world,” added Daryn Pingleton. The handling also benefits from the automaker’s first integration of a limited-slip differential to increase sure-footedness. The result, in the view of David Emmes, makes this latest version “a quantum leap from the original.”
The camp of detractors could fit in a pup tent. Regarding the interior, Matteo Atti thought its “design was overdone and aged.” Lee Weinstein’s list of complaints included “no air-conditioned seats” and “a thumping subwoofer—that was harsh.” He also felt that the car’s tech was “not intuitive.” Julie Anne Smedley determined that “minimal trunk space and legroom in back were the only downsides,” and James Diggs’s sole takeaway from the Bentley was its “difficult sight lines in the back.”
In contrast, Timothy Donahue “could find nothing wrong with the car,” while Garrett Calacci described it as “the perfect blend of beauty, power and grace.” Kylie White offered perhaps the highest praise, saying, “This car sparks joy at every turn and every press of the gas pedal.” Reason enough to be this year’s automotive champion.
ENGINE: 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12POWER: 650 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm0-60 MPH: 3.6 sec/3.5 secTOP SPEED: 208 mphBASE PRICE: $302,400/$274,900PRICE AS TESTED: $360,345 (Napa) $340,310 (Boca)

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