Bristol is the Gentleman's Relish of the car world, says Erin Baker in The Daily Telegraph, and it has just launched its first new model in ten years. The Bullet is only the 18th in the car maker's 70-year history, and even at its height in the 1950s and 1960s, it was only building maybe 200 cars a year. It has a reputation for being a "fusty, quirky, rare yet high-quality marque", but its new Bullet model brings the brand "bang up to date".
Like all Bristols, the Bullet is hand-built and the quality of the coachwork and chassis are evidenced by the fact that of all the Bristols made since 1947, 70% of them are still on the road. Such quality and craftsmanship doesn't come cheap, however. You'll get a very small amount of change from £250,000.
The Bullet is as fast as the name suggests, says Joe Holding on TopGear.com. The car will launch you from rest to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds and take you on to a limited top speed of 155mph. And while it may look just like a classic Bristol, in fact it has been built with contemporary features: the aluminium bodywork has been ditched in favour of stronger,lighter, carbon-fibre composites, for example. The interior can be finished either with the traditional wood panelling or a choice of carbon weaves and is equipped with a touchscreen to link up to your smartphone.
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The star of the show, predictably, is the 4.8-litre, 396bhp engine, says Lawrence Allen in AutoExpress, which gives off an impressively loud but not obnoxious V8 burble. As for how it drives, that's hard to say: journalists have only been taken on a low-speed pootle in the passenger seat. But even from there you can feel that the torque delivery is extremely strong, says Allen. Expect the Bullet to become a collector's hit.
The lack of a roof means that if you're caught out in the rain you'll either have to drive faster and hope the rain blows over your head, or seek refuge in a petrol station. There are mad dogs and Englishmen, says James Mills in The Sunday Times, and then there are Bristol drivers. But if you're wealthy and eccentric enough, then orders for the limited run of 70 cars are now being taken for delivery in January of next year. See BristolCars.co.uk.
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