Few other cars would have had the power, traction and stability to pull off the 205mph ice speed record. And those lucky enough to have ordered a Continental ISR will be getting a car with the same huge punch – and one that’s as luxurious as a Bentley should be. What’s more, exclusivity is guaranteed: not only because a mere 100 models are available, but also as each is priced at £189,300.
Juha Kankkunen has the icy stare of someone who is no stranger to going quickly. And although he is simply tackling a run up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Finn is approaching it with the same focus as his last blast in the fastest-ever Bentley Continental.
Back in February, Kankkunen broke his own world ice speed record, getting up to 205mph in a modified Continental Supersports Convertible on a frozen stretch of the Baltic Sea. Now, that car has been driven across Europe to take part in the West Sussex event – and Auto Express climbed aboard for an exclusive passenger ride.
To celebrate the record, Bentley is building 100 roadgoing Continental Supersports ISR (Ice Speed Record) models. Each has the same 631bhp 6.0-litre W12, as well as a host of visual tweaks including 20-inch alloys and red detailing throughout. But the actual record-breaking car is a very different machine.
Used car tests
“It’s all about being stable in very slippery conditions,” Kankkunen told us. “Driving on ice is so sensitive that you need to balance the weight perfectly – even adding ballast to the passenger side to counterbalance the driver. At speed, it’s trying to slide all the time, so the suspension has to be very soft to cope with the bumpy surface.”
There’s also a parachute to slow the car down – although we won’t need that at Goodwood.
On the move, it’s predictably fast. And in Kankkunen’s hands, very fast. At the start line, he holds the big Bentley on the brakes, then floors it and unleashes 800Nm of torque to all four tyres. The Continental makes a stunning baritone roar and rockets away. ISR models will get a new exhaust system, together with an additional 20bhp over the standard Supersports. This helps to give 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds – that’s one-tenth quicker than the regular 621bhp car.
In an instant, Kankkunen has flicked the lever of the six-speed Quickshift automatic box twice and we’re deep into third gear. The enormous carbon ceramic brakes wash off speed easily, and we dive into the first corner with surprising agility, all four wheels slipping into a stable drift.
Yet this car isn’t only about straight-line pace, and as we cross the finish line, Kankkunen looks at us. His icy stare has been replaced by a huge smile.