NAIAS 2017: Bentley's New Best: The 209 MPH Continental Supersports
Equipped with unnecessary power and pluralization, the 2017 Continental Supersports should be the fastest production Bentley in history — especially considering that it is, unequivocally, the most muscular.
This is the third implementation of the Supersports title by the Anglo-German carmaker. Originally used to denote the ultra-rare high-speed variants of the Bentley 3 Litres in the 1920s, the company reintroduced the name as a leaner and meaner version of the Continental in 2009. At the time, its 621 horsepower twin-turbo W12 made it a sledgehammer wrapped in velvet and the most luxurious super tourer a pile of money could buy. While Bentley seems adverse to updating the styling, it doesn’t seem to have any problems updating powertrains. The 2017 incarnation of the Supersports shaped up to be an elegant monster.
The new Continental Supersports remains a four-seat coupe and still comes with a six-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine. However, it now gets 700 brake horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque — which is a massive 160 lb-ft increase over the previous version. Running through Bentley’s eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, that power will bring occupants to 60 miles an hour in 3.4 seconds. While that may not touch Porsche 911 Turbo S — or even a Tesla Model S P90D — this is an extremely well-appointed 5,027 pound luxury coupe.
Changes from the last Supersports include suspension updates and an upgraded transmission — the previous car had a six-speed automatic. Bentley also improved the cooling system and brought in higher-capacity turbochargers to generate all of that extra torque. The company from Crewe also claims this Continental makes use of the largest carbon ceramic brake discs in the world.
Going and stopping power can be thrown around to whatever part of the grand tourer needs it most. The stability control system optimizes same rear-biased torque split enjoyed by other Bentleys (40:60), but it will reevaluate the twist allocation anytime the computer senses a loss of traction. Meanwhile, those huge brakes will focus on individual wheels to maintain power when exiting a corner.
At $293,300, this racing yacht couldn’t be considered a bargain. However, it does come in under offerings from Rolls-Royce, and none of their cars can hit 209 mph. Bentley has also decided to provide a $322,600 four-seat convertible option, which has a 0-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds and a 205 mph top speed. Buyer beware if you try to hit that speed with the top retracted and your eyeballs are sucked out of your head. Maybe Bentley will be good enough to furnish convertible owners with bespoke racing helmets.
While the face remains very familiar, the Supersports does have new front and rear bumpers. There is also a carbon-fiber splitter, diffuser, hood vents, and gobs of standard black accenting. Of course, since this is Bentley, there are a seemingly endless list of options for personalization. The same goes for the interior. The diamond-quilted design for the Alcantara seats and door panels are standard, though you can have the leather, stitching, and panels in practically any color you could imagine.
The Supersports, which is available in May of 2017, will make its formal debut at the North American International Auto Show on Sunday.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
- Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
- ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
- ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
- ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.