Naim for Bentley premium audio system (2020 Bentley Continental GT) review

We open the doorways to be greeted by means of seats covered in the finest leather-based. Our ft sink into carpet deep sufficient to envelop a toe. Back massage? Don’t mind if we do. We press the ability button, the lighting fixtures dim and the system springs to life.

We’d love to mention this can be a conventional day at What Hi-Fi?, however this test room is just a little different. It’s the stunning internal of the Bentley Continental GT, and nowadays’s entertainment comes courtesy of its flagship Naim for Bentley audio system.

System

The latest Bentley Continental GT comes with a collection of three audio techniques. A 650W, 10-speaker system with an 11-channel amplifier is fitted as standard.

The first optional set-up comes from Bang & Olufsen, showing in a Bentley for the primary time; it has 1500W of power, 16 speakers and a 16-channel amp.

But top of the pile is the “Naim for Bentley” premium audio system. This ups the power to 2200W and the speaker depend to 18. It contains 8 different DSP modes, compared with B&O’s four.

Traditionally, Naim has used various BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) drivers in its Bentley audio programs and the same applies for the brand new Continental GT.

BMRs lend themselves neatly to a vehicle internal as a result of they duvet a wide range of frequencies. The crossover points between these drivers and other speakers can be manipulated and moved to a much less sensitive a part of the frequency vary, which will have to imply a lot smoother and extra seamless integration.

The Naim for Bentley system uses a number of BMRs in the entrance and rear of the auto, including one in the midst of the dashboard, with additional BMRs positioned at either end, in each door and 4 extra within the rear.

Other cars in Bentley’s fleet, such because the Bentayga SUV, Flying Spur and Mulsanne, boast more generous proportions, so the fact that Naim has found houses for 18 audio system is all the extra spectacular. And that’s sooner than you count the 2 further Active Bass units bolted to the front seats.

Set-up

The Naim’s elementary sound settings are ruled via the ‘tone’ and ‘focus’ submenus, and you wish to have to set them up for each and every source that you need to use, equivalent to iPod, DAB radio or Bluetooth. The tone menu features Naim’s trademark white-on-black emblem and covers four other spaces: Active Bass, Subwoofer, Bass and Treble. Each one is assigned a digital dial which may also be adjusted the use of the touchscreen.

What’s the variation between Active Bass and bass? The front seats within the Continental GT every have what Naim refers to as a ‘shaker’ unit attached to them. According to Naim, the speculation comes from cinemas that use a equivalent feature to vibrate at positive exciting points in a film soundtrack. The first model of this technology appeared within the Bentley Bentayga, but Naim claims to have advanced the mixing and stability of the system here.

The Active Bass drivers paintings between 2Hz and 30Hz. Naim claims the technology is particularly useful at decrease volumes as it supplies the listener with extra really feel. As the quantity is going up and the 15cm subwoofer comes into play, the have an effect on of the lively bass is adjusted and lowered accordingly. Initially, we discover the rumbles somewhat annoying, particularly on tracks with vigorous bass.

Tap the Focus atmosphere and also you’re greeted with an extended list of the system’s other processing modes. There are 8 in total: Naim motive force, Naim front, Naim all, Naim rear, Classic, Digital Media, Spoken Word and Enhanced.

Each processing mode brings a fairly other take on complaints, relying on whether you want probably the most focused soundstage conceivable or desire a greater spread of sound and feeling of immersion. There’s such a lot flexibility, you shouldn’t have a problem discovering a environment to suit you.

Infotainment

The earlier generation Continental GT used to be launched in 2011 and its infotainment was once beginning to appear and feel dated. The arrival of a brand new Conti GT sees the whole system get an upgrade.

First, you’re handled to the auto's birthday party piece. When you first get in, there’s no sign of a show, handiest wrap-around wooden veneer panelling and a line of controls above the central air vents. But all that changes once you press the engine get started button. A central segment of veneer above the controls flips over, just like the registration code on James Bond’s Aston Martin, to expose a 12.3in high-definition touchscreen. The Bentley Rotating Display prices £4700, however we will’t see any individual leaving this box unticked.

A proximity sensor built into the display recognises when your hand is approaching and highlights positive key purposes. Tap the show and also you pay attention a subtle however sharp click. It gives the impression of haptic comments to make it really feel as if you happen to’re having a right kind interaction. The best problem is that the screen is a fingerprint magnet, which turns into obvious when it's became off.

Some of the key controls such because the scroll wheels at the steerage wheel and quantity dial have been for the reason that trademark Bentley knurling, which gives them a tactile feel. Besides DAB, AM and FM, the system additionally supports Apple AutomotivePlay (in some markets) however it’s a shame Android Auto doesn’t get a look-in.

Sound

Even with the W12 engine burbling underneath the Bentley’s floor, the auto delivers a elegant environment for a listening session. Surrounded through leather-clad surfaces, the interior is rather heavily damped and, as you’d most probably expect from one of these luxury grand tourer, it resists outdoor noise more than the typical automotive.

Key to this is the use of laminated acoustic glass, which means that you and your soundstage enjoy the benefit.

We get started with some hip-hop in the form of Kodak Black’s Patty Cake. It’s a observe and not using a scarcity of deep, probing basslines and the Naim drills them all house. At this point, we begin to wonder if we'd like the additional enter from the ones Active Bass gadgets.

The system is so professional at delivering bass that, after we flip them off, we don’t really miss this selection. In fact, for those who’re caught in traffic and desperate for the loo, the ones vibrations are the very last thing you want.

Play Royal Blood’s Out Of The Black and the system laps up the tough, lively drumming – on the finish of the track we’re left breathless through the punchy and strong efficiency.

Adele’s Skyfall is similarly rousing, grabbing our attention with the dynamic shifts of particular person piano strokes. The Naim does a just right process of speaking the delicate nuances and pauses in some way that other techniques can’t relatively organize. The integration between all of the quite a lot of speakers is best notch, which is helping create a gapless and immersive sound field as the monitor flowers into existence.

And you don’t wish to be watching the movie to get a sense of the drama. The system delivers a powerful efficiency across the board, exploding with the track’s dramatic big-band finishing.

But the Naim system doesn't revel only in the huge scale stuff, it captures delicate butterfly beats that run via Umi Copper’s All. The pitter patter of drums and the gently meandering strings are all beautifully arranged and intertwined. The instruments and primary vocal are beautifully layered.

But all too soon, our trying out session is over, and we've got a troublesome time dragging ourselves out of the GT, such is our desire to line up yet any other playlist.

Verdict

Nobody does luxurious somewhat like Bentley. And on this proof, no one does luxury in-car audio slightly like Naim. This isn’t a cheap system, however small change for the ones ready to have enough money a £200,000 car such as the Bentley Continental GT. This is definitely one of the crucial rounded and expressive in-car systems we’ve ever heard.

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