Your heroes will probably never live up to your expectations. Jake Paul won’t be as selfless as he appears, Paul Giamatti won’t be as beautiful in person and Tom Hanks might forget to thank the waiter. The things we love—cars included—are flawed.
For me, that car was the Bentley Continental GTC. It was the first really high-end car I got to drive and I came away feeling completely unimpressed.
Because, while the Continental GTC was a luxurious and impressive luxury good when it was made, I was driving a 2006 Conti in 2015. It also didn’t help that I had driven a Volkswagen Phaeton—which shares a lot of parts with the Bentley —just one week before. And while the Phaeton was awesome, these two cars were way too close for comfort.
This is the fundamental problem with meeting your heroes. You build up impossible standards that the real things can never rise to. In my head, a Bentley was an ethereal, life-changing experience on the road. In real life, it was pretty comfortable and pretty fast but the buttons were from a Phaeton and the software dates back to a year when Call of Duty didn’t have a subtitle.
Now, it was entirely unreasonable to expect a 9-year-old entry-level Bentley to blow away modern luxury cars I had driven, like the then-new S-Class. But my expectations weren’t based on reason, they were based on an image. Everyone knew a Bentley was special, even an older one, so it should feel special.
Modern Bentleys, it should be noted, do live up to the hype. So do modern supercars and ridiculous super trucks like the Raptor, but entry-level luxury cars don’t.
I’d imagine I’m not alone, though, in being disappointed by a hero car. Tell us about when that happened to you.