Simply Abu Dhabi XX

2 3 4 S I M P LY A B U DH A B I From the outside, both lightly camouflaged cars looked identical. However, the VFF included a near-production spec interior which featured the typical Bentley cues of knurled metal, quilted leather from the 12 hides that go into each, and the latest instrument cluster that sits nicely within a dash which will be familiar to Flying Spur owners. The other car was a pure workhorse inside: all black with wires poking out of drilled holes and taped onto the consoles aided by rough alligator clamps and some plastic switchgear doing just enough to get the job done. Our job more or less was to break things, or more correctly, test them in extreme conditions until they couldn’t take any more, and as the focus of the day’s duties was acclimatisation and engine cooling, it wasn’t long before the air-conditioning failed in both cars. “Things break – that’s why we’re out here, to make them break and to get it sorted before the car is released,” Mr Patterson said. “You chose to be among the engineers today,” he said with only half a laugh. Also joining us was Bentley’sMember of the Board responsible for engineering, Rolf Frech. “One of the things we are working on is to make sure that the interior is at the right temperature with the right distribution of the airflow and as you can see, there’s still some work to do,” he said. “Our main task was to do the tuning and calibration for the powertrain and the chassis system and we’ve had different groups of engineers working here in parallel.” Its 6-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine made short work of Big Red and the even scarier, bowl-like amphitheatre known as Devil’s Plunge. While the eight-speed auto was a bit clunky on the highway as a result of continual work being done to find the right clutch slip and bite points, it seemed at home in the soft dunes.