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Week at the Wheel: Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.

Week at the Wheel: Bentley Continental Supersports
We bid farewell to the original Continental Supersports before the new generation turns up.

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Bentley Continental Supersports |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

As the name suggests, the Supersports is all about delivering a more engaging drive while remaining within the Bentley Continental GT's brief as a luxury coupé. It's significantly more expensive than the entry-point Conti GT, but it's a lot more car for the cash. It's not to all tastes, but the Supersports is the Continental for keen drivers.

Key Facts

Model tested: Bentley Continental Supersports coupé
Pricing: £170,100
Engine: 6.0-litre turbocharged W12
Transmission: six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: two-door coupé
Rivals: Aston Martin DBS, Ferrari FF
CO2 emissions: 388g/km
Combined economy: 17.3mpg
Top Speed: 204mph
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Power: 621bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 590lb.ft at 2,000 - 4,500rpm

Inside & Out: 4 4 4 4 4

This is the last hurrah for the original shape of Bentley Continental GT, which is now in the process of being replaced by the restyled 2011 coupé. It's still a handsome machine, the Supersports, and it will turn heads wherever you go. The smoked chrome detailing, huge front air intakes, bonnet vents, subtly flared wheelarches and gorgeous alloy wheels all add up to something with more visual menace than the rest of the Continental range.

There's quilted Alcantara and leather covering the seats, which in our test car included rear seats rather than the storage shelf of most Supersports. Carbon fibre trim is not to all tastes, but there's no doubting the quality of fit and finish. Just a shame the seat backs are not as comfortable as they look, inducing some ache after an hour's driving. It's even more of a shame considering the large boot and this car's mile-devouring ability.

Ride & Handling: 4 4 4 4 4

Given the performance potential of the Supersports and its weight (even if it does tip the scales at 110kg less than a non-Supersports model) the brakes are suitably powerful and easily modulated to suit traffic conditions.

The suspension of the Supersports is adjustable to four settings, from Comfort to Sports. In fully wound up Sports mode it's just too firm for most UK roads and the suspension begins to patter over bumps rather than absorb them. It can make such a large and heavy car a handful on back roads, so best to back off the suspension setting to one notch above Comfort. We found this the best compromise and soon didn't bother experimenting any further as it suited all conditions.

More direct steering, four-wheel drive with a greater bias of power to the rear wheels and a stiffer chassis all make the Supersports a fearsomely capable car on curvy tarmac. It turns into corners with an alacrity that belies its size and weight, though there's not as much as feel through the steering wheel as you might expect of a car with this name tag. Still, the four-wheel drive makes the Bentley hugely stable and rapid through corners, while the suspension keeps the car free from lean or slop. Even so, the Supersports can shift into luxury mode just as easily and lives up to its Continental name, but you will hear quite a lot of rumble from those fat tyres.

Engine & Transmission: 4 4 4 4 4

Bentley has turned up the heat in the engine to produce 621bhp from the turbocharged W12 motor. It's a mammoth engine and delivers 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds, and continues to punch its way through the air to 204mph. Keep your foot to the floor and the Supersports impresses with the way it just keeps accelerating and the six-speed automatic gearbox remains smooth and unflustered no matter how you drive. We'd like a more distinct engine note, however, as the Supersports' sound is too muted and droning under full throttle. It also needs a certain amount of adjustment and care from the driver's right foot to avoid staccato slow speed manoeuvres, but this comes with familiarity.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 3 3 3 3 3

You want for nothing in the Continental Supersports as it comes with all of the luxury equipment you'd expect of a car costing £170,100. The only thing we might add would be a sunroof, but it's not an option in the Supersports.

It's possible to run the Supersports on E85, a bio-fuel made from plants. Bentley says that this drops emissions from the normal petrol-fuelled figure of 388- to just 116g/km. To do this, you'll need to find an E85 pump (we counted 20 in the UK at the time of writing), but we suspect most owners will just fill up with super unleaded and carry on enjoying their day. They will become very au fait with fuel stations, mind, as the Supersports has a combined economy figure of 17.3mpg that is easily worsened the moment you make use of the performance.


Alisdair Suttie - 17 Jun 2011



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2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.



2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2010 Bentley Continental Supersports. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 






 

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