PUBLISHED: 13:38 24 June 2016 | UPDATED: 13:38 24 June 2016
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
Want to stop traffic? Try out a Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible this summer.
What’s your image of a Law Society President? An august, senior figure, probably male and traditional in outlook, possibly silver-haired, certainly smartly attired.Think again. Only the latter applies when it comes to the newly elected president of the Kent Law Society, which represents all solicitors working in the county.
Senior Cripps partner Vanda James, who has been a specialist family lawyer for more than 25 years, is not only blonde and glamorous, she’s also a keen athlete, a mum – and a self-confessed petrol head whose first car (at 17) was a black Ford Capri JPS limited edition with a gold trim.
She’s also Sevenoaks-based Bentley Kent’s new ‘Face of Bentley,’ which is why I find myself on a gloriously sunny day sitting in the passenger seat of a fabulous Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible as President Vanda, giggling with sheer delight, expertly puts it through its paces.
We’re here at the invitation of marketing manager Lucia Jenkins, who is keen to attract a fresh new, more female-oriented audience into the dealership. Currently a mere seven per cent of Bentley owners are women, and Lucia sees no reason why that situation should continue.
“The Bentley brand has been male dominated, but we want to get the message out there that the cars are not scary, they are female friendly, beautiful and we want to see more ladies, like Vanda, have the confidence to choose our cars and enjoy driving them,” says Lucia.
“The synergy is between appreciating a good pair of shoes or a haute couture dress, so why would you not appreciate a Bentley, where every detail is beautifully realised?” she adds.
“Our new audience is fashion focused and very much interested in the craft that goes into creating our cars. You can have whatever colour you want [there have been requests to match everything from a favourite lipstick or nail varnish to, bizarrely, a food blender], stitching, embroidery, marquetry, the upper and lower environment. It all has the same attention to detail as how you put your outfit together.”
So how is the petite, 5ft 3in Tonbridge-based lawyer finding the drive? “It’s exhilarating, hearing the rumble and the bubble of the engine as you put your foot down, it’s like an instant shot of adrenaline – it’s just such a lovely car to drive,” Vanda enthuses.
“Once you’re behind the steering wheel you’re just engulfed by the beauty of the car and everything about it, you completely forget about the scale of the vehicle and you’re caught up in the pleasure and excitement of driving it.”
The beautiful Bentley (ours came in a refined ‘Moonbeam’ paint with a ‘linen’ leather interior) is certainly attracting attention in Sevenoaks High Street, especially when Madam puts her dainty foot down. People crane their necks to see where that throaty roar is coming from and as we make a turn at the rail station, one chap practically climbs in, he’s so keen to hitch a ride.
You can probably tell I’m no expert (friends have learnt to refer to their cars by colour rather than model), but even as a passenger, being in this vehicle is an unforgettable experience and we both can’t stop grinning from ear to ear.
So grab your girlfriends, leave the chaps at home, get yourself behind the wheel for a test drive. Eat your heart out, Thelma and Louise!
Find out more
Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible
Price: from £187,575
Power: 520 bhp and 0 - 60mph in 4.5 seconds
Fuel consumption: 25.4 mpg combined cycle
See for yourself at: Bentley Kent, 92 London Road, Sevenoaks TN13 1BA