Bentley Continental Supersports: the fastest four-seater sportscar

0
Bentley Continental Supersports

The grand old name of British luxury motoring gets an injection of pace as it produces the fastest four-seater on the sportscar market – the Bentley Continental Supersports. Tiff Needell takes this heavyweight thoroughbred for a ride

So you’ve decided you want to buy the fastest four-seater car … in the world! You’ve had a peek through the showroom window and think the Ferrari GT4CLusso will just about squeeze into your garage. Well, let me spare your blushes and save £18,000 out of your wallet by pointing you in the direction of Bentley.

You see, the fastest four-seater doesn’t come from the fabled stable of a supercar manufacturer but from a marque more renowned for producing luxury grand tourers. The Bentley Continental GT was introduced back in 2003, when the company was given a massive financial boost, having been taken over by Volkswagen AG, and two generations with a vast range of variants have revived better than even the most optimistic might have expected, with around 60,000 being sold globally to date.

Alas, all good things must end and a replacement is looming, so this must be its last hurrah. Only two previous Bentleys have borne the Supersports name, the 1925 3 Litre Speed model – the first to guarantee 100mph – and the 2009 630hp Continental that this replaces.

The new model is the fastest, most powerful Bentley ever made and, with 710hp, just 710 cars will be built. New intake and exhaust systems plus bigger turbos have cranked another 80hp out of the fabled W12 engine and, with a mountain of torque, this two-and-a-quarter-tonne steed can double the 100mph offered by that first Supersports, add another nine and beat the Ferrari by one!

I’ve never quite bonded with the ‘bold’ styling of the Continental and it looks even stranger battling with the Ferrari 488s and Lamborghini Huracáns it competes against in GT3 races, which it does with some success, thanks to balanced regulations. And the addition of a carbon fibre splitter on the front and a carbon fibre rear wing – fortunately removable – does little to change my opinion.

But what it’s like to drive? The diamond quilted Alcantara seats still hold you comfortably in place and you can pick your interior from 10 options. With that tonnage being launched towards the horizon at such speed, carbon ceramic brakes have been added as standard. But that’s almost the only step taken to reduce its considerable weight – although you could save a little more by adding a raucous titanium exhaust if you want to be sure the neighbours know you’re coming.

Stiffer suspension loses some ride quality but helps you hustle through the corners – with torque vectoring orchestrating the four-wheel drive to help its big front end go where the light and pleasantly direct steering tells it – not that it will ever feel like a nimble sportscar.

If it’s fresh air you want, the Bentley is offered as a convertible, but it costs another £21,000 and you’ll no longer be driving the fastest four-seater… just, at 205mph, the fastest four-seater convertible.

Bentley Continental Supersports: the verdict

Top speed 209mph                                                                      Acceleration 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds

Engine 6.0 litre turbocharged W12 generating 710hp         Gearbox eight-speed automatic

Economy 18.0mpg                                                                      Price £212,500

Performance 8/10                                                                     Handling 7/10

Economy 4/10                                                                              Comfort 9/10

Quality 9/10                                                                                 Desirability 9/10

View the gallery (click to enlarge)

To see the new Continental Supersports in action visit youtube.com/bentleymotors

bentleymotors.com

Related articles

Jaguar I-Pace Concept – the first real electric alternative to a traditional premium SUV

Land Rover Discovery Si6 HSE Luxury reviewed

Aston Martin DB11 – slick, powerful and built for the long haul

Porsche Panamera Turbo review

Become a member of the IoD

The IoD has a range of memberships for directors, founders and co-founders, providing all the resources and facilities needed to enhance your business. To find out more about membership offerings and to join today, visit iod.com/membership

About author

Tiff Needell

Tiff Needell

Tiff Needell is a former Grand Prix driver who spent most of his professional career racing in the World Sportscar Championship including 14 Le Mans 24 Hour races where he had a best result of third in 1990. He is however perhaps better known as a former presenter of Top Gear throughout the nineties and then helped to create ‘Fifth Gear’ which enters its 14th year in 2015. Tiff recently wrote his autobiography Tiff Gear, is Director magazine’s columnist, races whenever the opportunity arises and has now rejoined Clarkson, co-presenting at Top Gear Live.

No comments