At first glance, the 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports is at once blingy, purposeful and elegant. Descriptors that dovetail about as well as the notion of a Nascar Prius. And yet, here, they make perfect sense.
By Tara Weingarten
The Bentley Continental Supersports is billed as the fastest and most powerful Bentley ever. But speed is not everything. A Bentley must be stylish. In this Supersports version of the Continental, style turns to bling. Yes, the lines are elegant and rounded, thanks to the car’s DNA shared with the Continental GT. But fast, nowadays, means the ride must look mean. Here, dark smoked metalwork graces the Supersports’ grille, wheels, air intake frames and window surrounds. The result? A touring car with a distinctly menacing vibe. You’ve heard the phrase “pimp my ride?” A well-done example is the Supersports.
Inside, the tweaking continues. Instead of luxuriously lacquered hardwood veneers on the dashboard and center console, there’s glitzy lacquered carbon fiber. Lovers of sporty cars recognize this as an expensive finish. Whether this finish is actually attractive or not is entirely subjective. The driver’s fancy footwork is treated to drilled alloy sports pedals, which look racy and serious. And contrast piping and stitching on the leather seats is pure English posh, just what you’d expect from an old British marquee such as Bentley. For the 2012 model year, there is an upgraded infotainment system with 15GB of music storage, an iPod interface and a lifetime satellite radio subscription. And though the optional Naim 15-speaker sound system is a delight, it’s questionable that many speakers are necessary for a two-seat vehicle.
GADGETS AND GIZMOS
Now here’s something you don’t see everyday in a luxury car: The Bentley Continental Supersports is capable of running on either petrol and E85 biofuel or any combination of the two. E85 biofuel can offer a reduction of up to 70 per cent in CO2 emissions. The fuel supply system detects the blending ratio of the fuel in the tank and ensures that power and torque remain constant regardless of the ratio of petrol to biofuel. Think of it as the luxury end of living green!
The Bentley Continental Supersports is the beast of Bentley’s Continental model line-up. It easily cruises past the magical 200 mph mark without a shudder. It feels confident, planted, and smooth. But frankly, despite the company’s illustrious racing history, this large and flashy car looks so large and comfy, it’s surprising that it actually zooms the way it does.
While it may look heavy, the Continental Supersports is Bentley’s quickest car yet. Heavy use of carbon fiber and other lightweight composite materials shed 243 lbs from the weight of the regular Continental’s massive body. That, combined with a macho 6-liter, W12, 621-bhp twin-turbocharged engine propels this two-seater from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
With all the body tweaks and interior change-ups, this brute of a Bentley is definitely a wolf in wolf's clothing. And with all those ponies throbbing away under the hood, bystanders will have no doubt this is not your typically louche and lux British motor. While I applaud the ability to use biofuel and revel in all that power, I'd still take a traditional wood and leather interior over all that carbon fiber any day.
Blisteringly fast for such a sizeable touring car.
Attempts to go green with biofuel-mix capabilities.
Pass on the carbon fiber interior.