By Marc Lachapelle
Long gone are the days of ponderous Bentleys. The new Continental Supersports is the most powerful, fastest and cleanest car in Bentley’s 90-year history. What started as a two-year exploration into reducing weight and increasing power and torque of the carmaker’s sales hit, the Continental GT, became a production model named after the first Bentley to reach 100 mph, back in 1925.
The Supersports is powered by a 621-horsepower version of Bentley’s W12 engine that produces 590 lb-ft of torque from as low as 1700 rpm, delivered through a revised 6-speed ZF automatic that shifts quicker and blips the engine on downshifts. It can vault from zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and reach 329 km/h, whether running on gasoline, bioethanol or any combination of the two, for a possible reduction of up to 70 per cent in CO2 emissions. Bentleys plans to make all its models ‘FlexFuel’ by 2012.
The Supersports has carbon fibre sport seats – the rear replaced by a carbon fibre luggage deck – exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels and standard carbon-ceramic brakes that make it 110 kg lighter than a Continental GT Speed but still a hefty 2240 kg (4,939 lb). Handling has also been enhanced with a rear-biased 40/60 torque split for the all-wheel drive system and a 50 mm-wider rear track covered by subtly-reshaped fenders. Place your order now for delivery in the last quarter of 2009 in Europe and some time in 2010 for North America.