BENTLEY may be preparing to replace the Continental GT with a new-generation model, but the current model is going out in style. The luxury tourer’s swansong — the new Continental Supersports — is the fastest-accelerating, most powerful Bentley ever.
More juice has been squeezed from the company’s whopping W12 engine (12 cylinders in a W formation), hiking power to 700bhp — 77bhp more than the current range-topping Continental GT Speed. It also produces a huge 750 lb ft of torque, enabling a 0-60mph sprint of just 3.4sec. Not too shabby for a car that weighs nearly 2.3 tonnes.
Top speed depends on whether you opt for the coupé or convertible version, but the difference is negligible, at 209mph and 205mph respectively. Frankly, 205mph with the roof down may feel somewhat more hair-raising, anyway.
The company says the new Continental Supersports is as agile as it is powerful, thanks to a torque vectoring system (feeds torque to each of the four wheels independently, based on grip, to improve cornering) lifted from the track-focused Continental GT3-R.
Bentley says the Supersport’s four-wheel drive system sends 60% of the power to the rear wheels by default, to give it a more sporting character. Uprated ceramic brakes are fitted behind the 21in wheels to help bring the car to a stop.
New aero tweaks, including a carbon-fibre splitter and optional rear spoiler, are said to improve grip and add the appearance of extra muscle, while inside a tri-tone interior with Alcantara and carbon-fibre touches shout the Supersports sporting intentions. Further customisation inside and out is available via an “X Specification” pack.
The car’s price is still to be announced, although it is expected to cost £200,000.
Bentley’s previous Continental Supersports, launched in in 2009, was based on the first generation Continental. That car’s 6-litre W12 engine engine produced 621bhp and 590 lb ft of torque. Clarkson wasn’t a fan, describing it as “not good-looking, not much fun to hustle, big, heavy, vulgar and very expensive.”
He also lamented the fact that its only true purpose was cruising at 170mph on motorways, which isn’t possible in the UK. The current Continental is much more fun to drive but with nearly 80 extra horses under the bonnet, this is more likely to appeal to Knightsbridge showoffs than Mr C. Let’s hope it comes with a USB port, at least.