Motor Mouth: Bentley's Continental Supersports

Bentley's Continental Supersports ditches leather and walnut for flared wings and Boeing 747 speed.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

American intelligence. British fashion. Social science. The Ninja Mutant Turtles ...

All oxymorons, of course. And here's another: the Bentley Continental.

This model was, if we're to believe the manufacturer, a limousine that was also a sports car. But that's impossible. You can have a limo, but the vehicle will be too heavy to be sporty; and you can have sportiness, but the lightness makes it too uncomfortable to be a limo.

And although the Continental has been successful, appearing in more hip-hop videos than Dr Dre, it has always disappointed. The last incarnation I drove, the souped-up Speed, was ferociously fast, but the cabin was so cosseted that it felt as quick as a spider plant.

So I was sceptical about the new Supersports version - the fastest, most powerful Bentley ever, apparently. Yet the car is a success. And there's a reason for it: Bentley has given up on the luxury element.

Which is not to say the cabin is uncomfortable. It just doesn't feel like the drawing room of a Pall Mall club, like most Bentleys. Instead of leather and walnut, it's lined with carbon fibre and Alcantara suede. The front seats are less like armchairs and more like car seats - which you need to adjust with a spanner if you want to raise them. And although my model came with a ú5,000 Naim audio system, the latest Ford Focus has more toys in it.

But the resulting 110kg saved, and performance enhancements such as retuned steering and suspension and carbon ceramic brakes, make this an awesome sports car. It's Boeing 747 fast, and you can feel it so much that you almost expect to be offered tepid orange juice after take-off.

It looks fast too. With enormous 20in wheels, bonnet vents and flared rear wings, it's a thug - mine even came in Essex joyrider white. The message is that the Supersports is a supercar.

It has been built to run on petrol and E85 bioethanol, but given that there are so few E85 petrol stations, you'll end up using petrol anyway.

I'LL TAKE ONE
Ferrari-fast; runs on bioethanol.

THANKS BUT NO THANKS
Not a Ferrari; also runs on unleaded.

SPECIFICATION
Bentley Continental Supersports: ú173,450
Engine: 6 litre W12 twin-turbo
Power: 621 bhp
Torque: 590 lb/ft
Transmission: Automatic
Fuel: 17.3 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2: 388 g/km
0-60 mph: 3.7 secs
Top speed: 204 mph

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