Bentley supercar with hatchback emissions
The new Bentley Continental Supersports is a 200mph-plus supercar, but the company claims its real-world CO2 emissions are closer to those of a medium-sized hatchback.
The 621bhp coupe is not only the fastest and most powerful production Bentley, but also the greenest because it can run on a mixture of 85% bio-ethanol and 15% petrol, a fuel known as E85.
How are those emissions so low?
Officially, the CO2 emissions of the Supersports are rated at 388g/km, but Bentley's head of engineering, Dr Ulrich Eichhorn, says that when this is adjusted to take into account the CO2 absorbed by the plants that bio-ethanol is made from, the real figure is 120g/km.
Bentley reckons that the CO2 produced by an E85-fuelled car can be up to 70% less than a vehicle running on petrol alone when measured on a 'well-to-wheel' basis.
Bentley plans to give all models flex-fuel capability by 2012. That means they will be able to function on any combination of bio-ethanol and petrol, up to E85. This will help the company reduce the CO2 of its range by 15% on top of the 15% savings already achieved.
Where can I buy E85 fuel?
One of the main issues with E85 in the UK is availability there are just 200 sites dispensing it in the country.
It's also expensive, costing a mere 2-3p per litre less than petrol while giving a 30% fewer miles on a tank. However, Bentley remains committed to it as a 'renewable and sustainable fuel source'.
Why doesn't Bentley launch a diesel?
Bentley has considered diesel engines, arguing that their high torque outputs would 'fit' the company's heritage, but ruled them out because they would be unlikely to go down well in the key North American market.
**How about a hybrid Bentley?
The company has also dismissed hybrids on the grounds that they are best suited to urban conditions where Bentleys are least used.
Fuel cells have also been ruled out because of the energy needed to produce, store and transport the hydrogen they rely on to make electricity.