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Bentley Continental Supersports
7/10

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Road Test

Bentley Continental Supersports

Driven October 2009

Additional Info

Think of the Bentley Continental Supersports as the ultimate man-in-shed car. That's because Bentley engineers spent their spare time tinkering with various aspects of the GT Speed to see how far they could push the performance envelope. The result is the fastest, most hardcore Bentley that's ever been produced with a top speed of 204mph.

A few more key figures for you. Weight is down by 110kg, power is up by 20bhp to 621bhp, torque rises to 590lb ft, 0-60mph drops to 3.7 seconds. Oh, and the price goes up to £163,000. The gearbox has been tweaked and the four-wheel-drive system has been altered so that more torque is sent to the rear wheels. In a normal Conti, it's a 50:50 split. But in the Supersports it changes to 60:40 front to rear.

The effect is a more brutal Bentley. It's not a lightened car to the extent of a Clio Renaultsport Cup, so you still get all the luxury you'd associate in a Bentley, but this is the Continental for the racer in you. The fact that ‘GT' has been removed from the name tells you a lot.

You get a sense of the purpose of this car even before you hit the accelerator. There are no rear seats, the front seats have a manual adjustment, carbon fibre adorns the dash and the mostly leather steering wheel has an ultra-sticky band around it. Luxury is less overt here.

The noise and power delivery is much more savage and it does feel lighter. The steering could do with more feel, but as you turn into the corner, the car is more eager to follow your directions. In the Conti GT there's a hesitation, but in the Supersports the chassis is much sharper.  You can even adjust it slightly on the throttle mid-corner.

There are still downsides here. This is still a heavy car, despite the diet, and you'll feel that most through a left-right flick, as the tyres and suspension struggle to cope with the weight transfer.

And it's stiffer than the standard car, so even in the softest damper setting there's more patter over bumps. It's not uncomfortable, but you're definitely aware of surface changes more in this version.

Having said that, this still feels like a Bentley. You can potter along at 30mph and the car won't lurch awkwardly through the gears, or you could easily do 400 miles in a day and not feel worn out. As far as a performance luxury car goes, this is as good as it gets.

Piers Ward

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