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Bentley’s new leaner, meaner Continental Supersports

Our Bureau | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 12, 2017

Speed and opulence The Continental Supersports is Bentley’s fastest, but still oozes the luxury that the car maker is known for

Four passengers can be seated in comfort while travelling as fast as an F1 car

Luxury car maker Bentley has announced its fastest model yet — the new Continental Supersports. The car has a claimed top speed of 336 kmph and a 0-100 kmph range of 3.5 seconds.

Similarly, its soft-top sibling, the Continental Supersports Convertible can despatch the sprint to 100 kmph in 3.9 seconds on its way to a 330 kmph top speed. Bentley’s mighty W12 engine, redeveloped for the Supersports with new high-performance turbos and engine hardware, and a torque vectoring system create a Continental Supersports that is agile and powerful, a press release from the company said. Meanwhile, unique styling cues inside and out give the new model a sharpened athletic appearance.

Stand-out performance

A bespoke drivetrain featuring Bentley’s W12 engine combines extreme power and torque to offer this performance, the company release mentions. Key to the Supersports’ additional outputs are newly designed, higher-capacity turbochargers and a revised charge-air cooling system which create more boost and additional power. In order to harness these additional outputs, upgrades have also been made to the Continental’s cranktrain, including new main and conrod bearings.

These engine revisions result in an increase of 80 PS and 217 Nm over the 2009 Supersports model – a 10 per cent power-to-weight and 25 per cent torque-to-weight ratio improvement. The top speed rises by eight kmph, according to Bentley.

The company claims that the Supersports also benefits from a new torque converter which locks up faster allowing the car to make best use of the enhanced torque figure of 1,017 Nm. In order to rein in this immense performance the new model is fitted with high-performance carbon ceramic brakes with enhanced cooling. The brake discs, which the press release said are the largest of their type in the world, providing excellent performance with minimal fade under extreme conditions.

The brakes sit behind lightweight 21-inch forged alloy wheels, together offering a 20 kg weight saving in unsprung mass. A further 5 kg weight-saving is offered via an optional titanium exhaust system. The new Supersports is claimed to be the lightest-ever iteration of the current Continental GT and lighter than the 2009 four-seat Supersports model.

Enhancing the driver experience still further, the exhaust system has been redesigned to breathe more freely and provide an unmistakeable Bentley soundtrack, with down-shifts eliciting a rifle-fire crackle.

Ultimate handling and refinement

The Supersports has a specifically calibrated and updated version of the torque vectoring system first introduced on the Continental GT3-R. This dynamic system brakes individual front and rear wheels during acceleration out of corners to increase performance, whilst maintaining full power to unbraked wheels, and brakes the inside rear wheel on turn-in to improve agility. It also has a bespoke, less intrusive stability control calibration for a more precise chassis response.

The new Supersports retains the rear-biased torque split of Bentley’s all-wheel-drive system, sending 60 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels as standard for a better balanced character, but with the ability to adjust the front-rear power split depending on available traction, Bentley said.

Bespoke design

The new Continental Supersports features unique exterior and interior styling cues. Exterior changes include newly sculpted front and rear bumper designs incorporating a carbon-fibre splitter and diffuser respectively, new side sill extensions and bonnet vents also finished in carbon-fibre, gloss-black front wing vents and a new gloss-black, rifled exhaust tailpipe design. Completing the dramatic exterior look are dark-tint headlamps and tail-lamps, and a complement of black-finished brightware to the front grilles, lights, rear bumper, door handles and window surrounds.

There is also an optional, aerodynamically balanced rear spoiler and front splitter combination for the coupe. Further highlighting the enhanced performance, an optional gloss-finished, Supersports-branded carbon-fibre engine cover can be specified.

The new Continental Supersports Convertible offers the luxury and refinement of a coupé yet transforms into an open-tourer at the touch of a button. The multi-layer hood ensures high levels of refinement and acoustic insulation. The car has been exhaustively tested in all conditions from -30 degree Celsius to 50 degree celsius or more, the communication from Bentley said.

Inside, a host of bespoke styling details enhance the contemporary British luxury experience. A unique colour split has been created, using three colours: the first tri-tone interior offered in this generation Continental GT. A new diamond-quilted design is incorporated in the seats and door side panels for a unique signature in Alcantara, while chequered Supersports carbon-fibre fascia panels join the existing list of ten veneers and technical finishes available. The interior is completed by new Supersports emblem stitching, and a bespoke Supersports steering wheel and unique gearlever, both featuring Alcantara accents. A titanium exhaust option is available for drivers seeking a more intense audible experience, Bentley said.

As with all Bentleys, the Supersports can also be handed over to the highly skilled craftspeople at Mulliner, Bentley’s bespoke coach-building department, who will respond to individual customer requirements.

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Published on January 12, 2017
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