Meet Bentley’s Most Powerful Car Ever: Bentley Continental Supersports
If the Bugatti Chiron is a 32 oz. can of Four Loko, the Continental Supersports is Hennessy X.O. Sure, there are some buyers out there who want their hyper-luxury cars in DEFCON 5 all-out-attack mode, but many a well-heeled car buyer would rather pilot something they can park in front of the Casino de Monte-Carlo without attracting a crowd.
Or at least a large crowd. Because true aficionados will always be able to spot the Continental Supersports with its new square jaw and bigger muscles. That’s okay — a few tasteful compliments never hurt. You were just hoping to make dinner by 8.
Putting the “W” in “World Beater”
And you will, thanks to the Supersports’ latest rendition of Bentley’s flagship W12 power unit. It produces 700 horses and a colossal 750 foot-pounds of torque, which the be-winged coupe delivers to the ground through an eight-speed transmission that’s been optimized for quicker lockup, to make the most of the boosted 12’s nearly flat torque curve, which gives maximum torque at less than 2,000 rpm.
To achieve this kind of power, Bentley revisited the Continental engine’s internals, fitting in more substantial rod bearings and a stouter crankshaft. There’s also a higher-capacity intercooling system that lets the boost force more air into its 12 combustion chambers.
As a result, the Bentley excels in straight-line speed, eclipsing the 0-60 mark in 3.4 seconds. Keep your foot on it and you’ll eventually reach a top speed of 209 mph which, thanks to the Bentley’s two-and-a-half-ton curb weight, probably feels about the same as 78mph in a Chrysler Conquest. Scratch that — no Conquest ever rode this smooth at any speed.
A Fist in a Velvet Glove
Ride quality is just one of the things that’s so unerringly Bentley about the Continental Supersports that, despite it’s extremely high limits, hasn’t been sacrificed to the gods of the Nürburgring.
Bentley knows that even when they create a sports-oriented model, their buyers expect certain things. One of those things is the ability to cross Europe’s cobblestone byways without jarring a tooth loose. So, the Supersports’ computer-controlled air suspension keeps things stiffer than in your typical CGT, but doesn’t force passengers to suffer the harsh realities of a true racing machine.
The ride isn’t the only thing that’s luxurious, either. All of the typical Bentley opulence is here, in its racing shoes. There’s extra carbon fiber available inside to complement the updated dash trim and quilted leather seats. Wheels are a standard 21 inches, and available as options are an even more aggressive cosmetics package and a titanium exhaust system good for 10 pounds of weight savings.
Enticing the Occult
Paul Jones, Bentley’s director of product management says that after the success of their 2013 Supersports model, the Supersports has achieved cult status. He called it the ultimate balance of luxury and performance.
The only Bentley that could even threaten the Supersports is the Crewe-based brand’s ludicrous GT3-R Continental from 2015. That car was as close to a Bentley track special as we can ever expect to see, but it was also for a very specific buyer.
This car is fast, yes, but it’s also accessible in the sense that you can just get in and drive it. It’s truly a grand tourer, albeit one with better reflexes than the standard Conti, and noticeably so.
The Supersports derives its exclusivity from price and finish, but it isn’t quite as demanding as its more primitive, double-edged counterparts that leave smoldering lap records. And it doesn’t want your firstborn child — a second mortgage will do just fine, thank you.