In this great big country of ours, long-distance travel is a crapshoot. Flying is subject to interference from weather, airport backups, mechanical problems, overbooking, and a million other factors. If you drive, you subject yourself to traffic jams, speeding tickets, and possibly deep vein thrombosis, depending on the duration of your trip. While getting yourself from point A to point B is dicey and frustrating, do you ever doubt that a FedEx package will reach its destination on time? When FedEx, with its ruthlessly efficient fleet of trucks and aircraft, tells you that your package will arrive by noon the next day, you not only expect them to make good, you expect it there early. FedEx's guaranteed timeliness is a triumph of organization over chaos. It also makes them a perfect adversary for a good old-fashioned cross-country race.
Is it possible, I wondered, to overnight a FedEx package in New York and beat it to Miami? FedEx guarantees delivery by noon. MapQuest says the trip should take about twenty hours, assuming you can average 65 mph. That doesn't sound very fast, but in order to show up in Miami before noon, you need to run the gauntlet of Baltimore / Washington, D.C. rush-hour traffic on your way down I-95. Also, we'll be leaving on a Friday, the worst travel day of the week. Depending on traffic and barring unforeseen accidents, flat tires, or constabulary-related slowdowns, even a 65-mph average could be a challenge. In other words, this ought to be a good race.
But what kind of car would I want for this mission? To beat FedEx, it should have major power underhood. To slay a 1300-mile nonstop trip, it would need luxury of the sort that invites hours behind the wheel with cosseting seats, a supple ride, and a hushed interior. And ideally, when you go from a northern clime to a place where the local NBA franchise is named the Heat, you want to celebrate that occasion with a convertible. The perfect car for the job, then, is the new Bentley Continental GTC.
Packing the same 552-hp, twin-turbo W-12 as the Continental GT coupe and the Flying Spur sedan, the GTC will do 190 mph with the top down, according to its maker. There are four seats, a proper trunk (the elongated lid of which makes the convertible, in my eyes, even better looking than the coupe), and an interior that is a sumptuous amalgamation of contrasting leather, wood, and brushed aluminum. Sure, the GTC costs almost $200,000, but that's the price of admission for a car that fell out of the awesome tree and hit every branch on the way down.
The GTC may be the ideal car for a nonstop banzai run down the East Coast, but to have any chance of beating FedEx, I'd also need the ideal co-driver. Enter Alex Roy.