New models - Bentley - Continental - Supersports Convertible Ice Speed Record
Bentley launches fastest drop-top as new Conti nears
Continental Supersports ISR special breaks Bentley power and price records
21 Apr 2011
FOLLOWING its global debut at the Geneva show last month, the Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible Ice Speed Record (ISR) special edition is now on sale in Australia priced at $553,585 plus on-road costs.
Bentley has also confirmed to GoAuto that the first examples of the second-generation Continental GT coupe will be arriving Down Under within the coming months, priced at $405,714.
The production run of 100 ISRs exists to commemorate the 330.695km/h world ice speed record set in February by a bio-fuelled Bentley Supersports Convertible driven by Finnish four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen.
Kanukken’s previous record of 321.6km/h, set in 2007, was also achieved in a Bentley, a Continental GT coupe.
Peak power of 471kW makes the ISR the most powerful Bentley ever (by 8kW) and its price makes it the most expensive Continental – by almost $22,000. The extra 8 kilowatts are liberated through the use of revised air-intake, intercooler and exhaust systems.
Torque of 800Nm is shared with the standard Supersports coupe and convertible, as is its six-litre twin-turbo W12 engine’s ability to consume petrol, E85 bio-ethanol or a mixture of both.
The ISR powers from zero to 100km/h in four seconds, 160km/h is achieved in 9.4 seconds and v-max is 325km/h. Bentley claims that a side-effect of the new free-flowing exhaust system is a “sporty baritone under hard acceleration”.
On top of impressive standing-start performance, the ISR’s in-gear acceleration from 80-120km/h is achieved in just 2.5 seconds. Bringing all that power under control are carbon-ceramic brake discs, the 420mm diameter front rotors being gripped by eight-piston callipers.
Power is fed through a six-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels, with a 60 per cent rear bias, which Bentley claims aids “throttle steering for more enthusiastic drivers”.
The ISR’s leather and alcantara-lined interior uniquely features high-gloss carbon fibre with a red weave on the dashboard, centre console and roof panel. The red theme is continued in the contrast piping and stitching on the seats, door trims, steering wheel and gear-shift paddles.
A Breitling analogue clock and embroidered Supersports legends on the front seats and floor mats mark the finishing flourishes for the interior, which also previews the upcoming second-generation Continental GT by premiering its eight-inch touch screen infotainment system.
The high-tech multimedia widescreen setup provides access to a 30-gigabyte internal hard-drive, DVD player, SD memory card slot and Google Maps-compatible navigation, complemented by a second digital information panel in the instrument cluster.
A Bentley spokesman told GoAuto that there will be no showroom ISRs in Australia and that the only ones to be seen here will be customer cars. They also revealed that so far one Australian customer has expressed interest in purchasing an ISR.
The ISR can be had in one of three colours called Beluga, Quartzite and Arctica White. All models come with a three-layer soft-top featuring a dark grey acrylic outer layer that has a semi-transparent metallic appearance, complemented by the dark-tinted 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels.
A no-cost Mulliner design package can be specified with diamond-turned and red-finished 20-inch alloy wheels, bold Supersports ISR graphics for the car’s flanks and dark-coloured, dual-louvred bonnet vents.
The effect of the colourful wheels and side graphics is unprecedented for a Bentley and reminiscent of a Porsche 996 GT3 RS.
Far from the ISR being a last hurrah for Bentley’s existing Supersports line-up, which is based on the outgoing Continental GT, the Supersports will continue to be sold alongside the new coupe once it goes on sale – because Bentley sees it as a model range in its own right.
Like its former bedfellow Rolls-Royce, China has become Bentley’s second-biggest market, where in the first quarter of this year it sold 302 cars – an increase of 62 per cent year-on-year.
The Volkswagen Group-owned British luxury brand plans to expand its dealer network by a third this year and is on target to supply 300 Mulsanne limousines to China this year.
Also like Rolls-Royce, Bentley used the Shanghai show to debut a special edition vehicle tailored to the Chinese market, in the form of the Continental Flying Spur China edition – which it hopes will help it make China the number one market for its Continental GT-based sedan.
On Australian soil, this year’s Bentley sales amount to 15 to the end of March, a Q1 rise of 25 per cent year-on-year.
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