Packing a 621bhp 6.0-litre W12 engine, the brutish two-seater coupe can accelerate to a top speed of 204mph. But it’s also green too, as it’s capable of running on renewable biofuel as well as petrol.
Making its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the mighty machine will go on sale in the UK in Autumn, where it will sit above the 200mph Continental GT Speed as the flagship sports car in the Bentley range.
The result of two-year project by a small number of Bentley designers and engineers, the Supersports is the fastest and most driver-focused Continental yet.
As well as more power, it gets uprated brakes and suspension, a ‘Quickshift’ automatic gearbox and a tweaked four-wheel drive system. It has also undergone an extension weight-saving programme, with lightweight components such as carbon-fibre seats helping it shed 110kg over the GT Speed on which it’s based.
The most obvious change is the muscular bodykit, which packs flared rear wheelarches and wider side sills to cover an increased rear track, larger twin exhaust pipes and a modified rear valance, plus 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels. A new dark-smoked steel finish is applied to all exterior ‘brightware’, including the front grille, lamp bezels, window surrounds and wheels.
At the front are a host of intakes and twin bonnet vents, which help provide 10 per cent more air to the uprated 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine. With increased turbo-boost pressure, it produces 621bhp at 6,000rpm – 21bhp more than the GT Speed – and another 50Nm of torque taking output to a staggering 800Nm between 1,700-5,600rpm.
Together with the weight loss and the Quickshift transmission, which reduces shift times by 50 per cent, the Supersports does 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds, 0-100mph in 8.9 and jumps from 50mph-70mph 2.1 seconds. With a top speed of 204mph, the Supersports is the fastest Bentley ever made.
The engine is also Bentley’s first ‘FlexFuel’ unit, capable of running on E85 bioethanol or petrol or a combination of the two. The firm has committed to making its entire range FlexFuel-compatible by 2012 and claims that biofuel reduces CO2 output by 70 per cent from its production to its use in a car. Although it’s unlikely the Supersports is much cleaner than the xxg/km GT Speed at the tailpipe, or any more economical.
Positioned as the most driveable Continental GT ever, the Supersports’ rides 10mm lower at the front and 15mm lower at the rear. The anti-roll bars get new geometry, there are new bushes to increase stiffness while the power steering system has been tuned for improved feel.
The Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system has also been tweaked for better response, while the four-wheel drive system now sends power 40:60 per cent in favour of the rear wheels, rather than 50:50 of the standard GT Speed. Ultra-sticky Pirelli tyres, standard fit carbon ceramic brakes and a revised traction control system, which allows more wheelslip, complete the dynamic upgrades.
“The Supersports is an immensely capable real-world supercar with agility and traction in all driving situations”, says Brian Gush, director of chassis and powertrain engineering. “The new rear-bias all-wheel drive and retuned ESP allows the driver to fully exploit the potential of the W12 engine and optimised chassis.”
As you’d expect, the cabin is luxuriously trimmed, but the Supersports uses new, non-traditional Bentley materials including carbon fibre and Alcantara suede. A strict two-seater, the rear seats are replaced by a luggage area while up front, the lightweight sports shells feature carbon-fibre backs and can be individually tailored to the owner.
The headlining, rear compartment and the seat centre panels are finished in Alcantara high quality suede-like material, while the seats get soft-leather with a ‘diamond’ upholstery pattern as do the steering wheel and gear lever. Carbon-fibre replaces the wood veneer on the centre console and facia.
No prices have yet been revealed but the Supersports is expected to cost in excess of £150,000. A limited production run is likely too.