By Nauman Farooq
A decade ago, the Volkswagen Group was feeling rather wealthy and wanted to go shopping for some car companies.
In a giant scoop they picked up Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley.
At the time, Bentley was a rather small company with three models to offer to its customers, the Arnage sedan, the Continental T coupe, and the Azure convertible.
However, with Volkswagens money, Bentley started developing a new line-up of cars. First up was an all new coupe named the Continental GT (2004). This vehicle used a lot of the technology that was developed for the VW Phaeton sedan, and this included its all-wheel drive system and its engine, only in the Bentley, the massive 6.0-liter W-12 motor had gained two turbo-chargers resulting in 552 hp.
The car was very well received by the motoring press and the buying public. Still, to further its appeal, a year later Bentley launched a long wheelbase sedan version of the Continental GT and called it the Flying Spur, which is still the fastest four-door production sedan in the world (top speed: 320 km/h).
Not wanting to rest on their accomplishments, a year after the Flying Spur, a convertible model called the GTC was introduced to complete the Continental family.
Having done so much in so little time, Bentley was running out of ideas as to what should be done next. So they started tinkering with the current line-up of models. The “Speed” versions came next with upgraded power and technology.
But last year, they really let their hair down and did a serious version of the GT. It was called the Continental Supersports and not only did it have different grilles, bumpers and interior trimming, it also had more power, 630 hp to be precise. They even got Sienna Miller to drive one in the Hollywood blockbuster G.I. Joe.
At the 2010 Geneva Auto Salon, Bentley has pulled the wraps off another new model. It’s called the Continental GTC Supersports, and essentially it is the convertible version of the coupe they unveiled last year. This one gives Bentley even more bragging rights because with a top speed of 326 km/h, the GTC Supersports is the fastest production four-seater convertible ever made.
To further improve its speed, Bentley took off 90 kg of weight, and its six-speed automatic gearbox is reconfigured to swap gears 50% more quickly than they used to. The weight saving and quicker gear changes means it can now sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
While this speed machine might not be the obvious choice of vehicle for a Greenpeace activist, the car can run of E85 bioethanol which is considered to be the green fuel of the future.
It’s not just the performance that got an upgrade; the interior also got some attention. Carbon-fiber has replaced wood, plus lighter, more supportive bucket seats have been added for all occupants to keep them firmly in place for when the going gets a little too fast.
The Continental GTC Supersports will go on sale this autumn. No Canadian price has been announced yet, but don’t expect much change from $300,000.