The GT3-R hails from the Bentley family of Continental Grand Tourer (GT) cars, the latest generation of which was launched in 2011
Manic GT3-R The Bentley GT3-R, which has razor-sharp steering, sprints from zero to 100kmh in 3.8 seconds. -- PHOTO: WEARNES AUTOMOTIVE

The GT3-R hails from the Bentley family of Continental Grand Tourer (GT) cars, the latest generation of which was launched in 2011.

The British luxury carmarker labels the GT3-R as a road car with a racing soul and the fastest-accelerating Bentley. It is not exaggerating.

The car sprints from zero to 100kmh in 3.8 seconds, putting it in the company of racers such as the AMG GT and Porsche 911 GT3.

It achieves the pace through a 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, which is also found in the Continental GT range, but tuned to a higher power output. Transmission-wise, it is mated with a ZF eight-speed autobox with paddle shifters.

The other trick in its bag is weight reduction. It ditches two jump seats and shaves off 100kg from other Continentals.

Only 300 GT3-Rs will be sold. Such limited-edition cars are not typically available for test driving, but Life! took it for a 30-minute spin last week.

The drive was too fleeting to count as a regular test drive and the car was on studded winter tyres on a frozen lake in Finland, not on regular roads.

But there was enough time to appreciate the sharp steering of the car and the manic torque that peaks at a low engine speed of 1,700rpm. The 2,195kg car was agile, but not to the point of being frisky.

The transmission was not fully tested because the gearing was kept low for maximum torque to be driven on ice.

On the slippery surface, the razor-sharp steering and torque got the car out of tricky situations. I entered a tight hairpin turn too fast and it looked like I was going to plough into the snowbank, but the sharp steering and instant torque got me out of the turn unscathed.

An unusual bit about the GT3-R is that its top speed of 273kmh is measurably slower than the 303kmh top speed of the entry level GT V8. The difference is inconsequential, since both cars are unlikely to be driven at such speeds unless helmed by a professional driver on a race track.

Three units have been allocated to Singapore and one has already been sold to a first-time Bentley owner.

In the realm of rare performance cars, it does not get more exclusive than that.