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Car reviews - Bentley - Continental - Supersports coupe

Launch Story

Bentley logo8 Dec 2009

By LUCIANO PAOLINO

BENTLEY has unleashed its most performance-oriented model in Australia, the Continental Supersports.

The fastest Bentley ever produced is not cheap, at $525,000, which represents a $126,413 premium over the standard GT and a $96,753 premium over the GT Speed.

The first car arrived in Australia last week, with more customer cars expected to arrive in January and February.

Bentley expects to deliver 15 of the ballistic coupes to Australian customers before the end of next year.

The Continental Supersports is the first model to emerge from Crewe with carbon fibre bits which have helped Bentley engineers cull 110kg from the Continental GT Speed.

Around 26kg of this comes from the removal of the rear seats, which means the Supersports is now a two-seater coupe.

Another 45kg has been saved by replacing the sumptuous leather front seats with new carbon fibre bucket seats (sourced from the Bugatti Veyron).

New super light wheels, lighter chassis components and the introduction of carbon fibre brake discs saved another 39kg.

Despite the cuts, the Continental Superports still weighs a hefty 2240kg.

The big Bentley is still able to post a remarkable 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 329km/h.

That is 0.9 seconds faster than the Continental GT and 0.6 seconds faster than the Continental GT Speed.

The Supersports features a similar twin turbo 6.0-litre W12 engine to other Continental models, but the boost pressure has been increased in order for it to produce a whopping 463kW at 6000rpm and 800Nm at 1700-5600rpm.

The engine has also been modified to run E85 ethanol-petrol fuel as part of Bentley’s attempt to give its muscle car a green tinge.

The official fuel consumption doesn’t look too green, coming it at 16.3 litres per 100km for the combined cycle. The city consumption figure is a staggering 24.5 litres per 100km.

The Supersports runs a torque converter type six-speed automatic which has been adapted for 50 per cent faster shifts. This transmission can be controlled with the gearshift or by dash mounted paddles behind the steering wheel.

Like the other Continentals, the Supersports runs a constant all-wheel-drive system.

The other models feature a system that sends 50 per cent to the front wheels and 50 per cent to the rear, but the Superports has a 40 per cent front and 60 per cent rear split for greater performance.

In order for greater stability, Bentley has increased the width of the rear track by 50mm.

This engineering change also led designers to flare the rear wings which also give the Supersports a meaner look.

The front suspension features stiffer bushes, a retuned anti-roll bar and aluminium forward levers, while all the dampers have also been recalibrated along with the steering.

The wheels are 20-inches in size, featuring lightweight forged aluminum and are shod with 275/35 ZR20 Ultra High Performance Pirelli tyres.

Bentley has also retuned the electronic stability control system to allow for sportier driving.

It spared no expense when it came to the anchors and the Supersports runs what Bentley claims are the largest and most powerful brakes ever fitted to a road car.

The front carbon discs have a 420mm diameter and 356mm diameter at the rear. They are latched on to by eight-piston callipers at the front and dual piston callipers at the rear.

Like all Bentleys, the Supersport’s interior can be customised, but has several carbon fibre surfaces and a combination of leather and alcantara on the doors and the seats.

It is easily identifiable from the exterior thanks to deeper front and rear bumpers, larger exhaust pipes and bonnet vents, which Bentley insists are fully functional.

There is also a slightly more pronounced rear wing, at the front of the boot, which pops up at 80km/h.

The traditional chrome bright elements have been replaced by blacked-out parts.

Bentley says the process of painting these stainless steel parts – which include the headlight surrounds, window surrounds, front grille and option wheels – is an industry first.

The Supersports is available in 17 standard paint colours, as well as two matt colours including two types of grey, which will be available in limited numbers as a $60,000 option.

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