A ‘rocket ship’ on the road
Speed like this from such a weighty vehicle comes thanks to tons of power
The Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible may come from an exclusive and historic English luxury car company, but make no mistake: It isn’t about eating caviar while your butler drives you around.
The Continental Supersports is about speed. Unbridled, obscene speed.
The 2011 drop-top version, the only one of its kind in the world, was in Austin recently as it tours the country looking for prospective buyers. T.L. “Sonny” Morgan, the dealer principal who sells them through Bentley Austin, calls it a “rocket ship.”
That’s pretty spot-on, as this car is capable of 204 mph and can blast from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds, an improbable feat for a car that weighs more than 5,000 pounds.
That 3.7 seconds is slightly faster than the current Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which weighs 2,000 pounds less. How is that possible? The Bentley gets its heft from its steel frame and all-wheel-drive setup, but it compensates by having loads of power on tap.
The car packs a twin-turbo, 6.0-liter W12 — meaning the cylinders are stacked on top of one another in two banks — that produces 621 horsepower and 591 pound-feet of torque.
Putting pedal to floor in the Continental Supersports is kind of like strapping a cruise missile onto the back of a “normal” automobile. It bursts forward, never seeming to run out of speed or power. It just keeps going as long as the driver has the stomach for it.
Hit 100 mph, and it’s as if the car says, “That all you got?”
The interior is loaded down with lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum. The model I drove featured ultra-bolstered Sparco seats. The backs were very hard, like a firm mattress, although Morgan says they are comfortable on long drives. More than anything, they do a good job of holding you in place at high speeds.
The problem is, they don’t move with electric motors. That’s right, this $280,000 Bentley
Continued from D1 doesn’t have power seats. But opt for softer, non-Sparco ones, and you can have them.
On the road, the all-wheel-drive system sends 60 percent of power to the rear wheels, meaning there’s a ton of grip, but the extra power going to the rear allows for aggressive cornering. But handling is not the car’s strongest suit because of its sheer size and weight.
Surprisingly, the car is actually quiet, even with the top down — until you mash your foot on the gas, which releases a deep rumble from the engine.
Bentley says this car is the fastest four-seat convertible in the world. In a way, it’s like a muscle car for captains of industry — full of luxury, very heavy, but insanely fast in a straight line.
Better yet, it’s a “green” supercar. Morgan says that when they go on sale next year, the Continental Supersports will be able to run on E85 ethanol, or biofuel, in addition to gasoline. This vegetable-based fuel helps reduce dependency on fossil fuels and has fewer carbon emissions.
So you can tell your bike-riding, Prius-driving friends you’re helping to save the Earth as you cover it in burned rubber.
Austin got a visit this month from the Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible as part of its tour of the United States. A twin-turbo, 6.0-liter W12 powers the 5,000-pound vehicle, making it the fastest four-seat convertible in the world.