Bentley Continental Supersports: driven
* 'Greenest' Bentley yet * No room for the kids * Yours for £163,400...
Bentley goes green
Bentley's fastest, most powerful and greenest car ever began as an under-the-radar project to see how weight-saving might pave the way for an extreme version of the Continental GT.
It's also the first model to meet Bentley's commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by ensuring all its models can run on a blend of 85% bio-ethanol and 15% petrol by 2012.
Huge power, swift shifts and serious weight loss
Bentley has upped the outputs of the twin-turbo W12 engine to 621bhp and 590lb ft of torque; worked with ZF to halve gearshift times and allow double-downshifts with the six-speed automatic box.
It's also widened, lowered and stiffened the chassis and retuned the electronic variable damping system; and fitted carbon ceramic brakes (the most powerful ever on a production car) inside the 20-inch wheels.
A total of 110 kilos has been shed, much of it by dispensing with the rear seats, and the body has been reshaped to provide more cooling and clothe the wider chassis, while the interior gets a unique finish.
Grand Tourer comfort, supercar pace
If that sounds like we're flitting over some major changes, it's because we want to get to what the car does.
The first point is that the Supersports retains all the comfort and refinement essential in a Bentley, with an astonishingly good ride even in the firmest of the damper settings. Bentley says it's not a GT because it has only two seats, but we'd beg to differ.
Secondly, you put it on a track and find that it's no mean supercar, either. It has agility that belies its 4.8-metre length and two-tonne weight, with wonderfully consistent reactions to every driver input. There is no road where it feels out of place; no aspect in which it feels compromised.
Perfect for one or two
In fact, there's just one potential flaw, and it's that two-seater layout, which might appear a bit self-obsessed to some buyers. However, we've an inkling Bentley has plans for a four-seater version, too. Then what have you got to complain about?
It's a GT. It's a supercar. It's a Bentley
Bentley Continental SupersportsEngine Size 6.0 W12
Price (est) £163,400
Top speed 204mph
Economy (est) 17.3mpg
CO2g/km/tax 388/35%Insurance group 20
Colours infiniteLikely discount Not a chance.
or try a ... Aston Martin DBS or a Ferrari 599