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 powerful.
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.