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Car Review

Bentley Continental Supersports review

£163,000
710
Published: 22 Dec 2023
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A 'lightweight' stiffened super-Bentley makes absolutely no sense. Perhaps that’s why we’re fond of it

Good stuff

Best looking first-generation Continental GT. Runaway train performance. Rarity

Bad stuff

Remembering the laws of physics. Lofty driving position

Overview

What is it?

Faded glory. Way back in spring 2009, while the world economy was still scraping itself off the canvas and a little-known game called ‘Minecraft’ was being prepared for public release, Bentley went ahead and revealed the most powerful, fastest car in its history. The Continental GT Supersports.

It’s since been eclipsed by an even swifter version of the two-door deluxe hyperpalace – but the Mk1 is rare, special, and really rather appealing. Especially when you realise what was once a £163,000 limited-run unicorn can now be yours for around the same sort of cash that buys a well-optioned Golf GTI.

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HOW FAST WAS, SORRY, IS THE SUPERSPORTS?

Pretty quick for a car. Obscenely rapid for a stately home. Bentley claimed a v-max of 206 miles per hour, with the AWD, W12-powered coupe launching from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds – a whopping half a second quicker than the previous quickest model. It would romp past 100mph in less than nine seconds, thanks to a power output of some 621bhp – a monumental rise from the 552bhp the Conti GT began life with in 2003.

WHAT ELSE HAS CHANGED?

Supersports were distinguished by the vertical grilles in the bumper, ceramic brakes, lighter alloy wheels and no back seats at all, while the armchairs made way for incongruous bucket seats. This was the 911 GT3 treatment, Bentley style.

HOW MANY WERE MADE?

As a run-out special, the Supersports is fairly rare: 1,207 coupes were built. The example in these pictures made its way down the Crewe factory line in 2012 and was the very final first-gen Continental GT to be completed.

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What's the verdict?

A great big six-litre contradiction: luxury and lightweight. Sporty and refined. Gentlemanly, yet caddish. And to be quite frank, often not brilliant

If you attempted to explain the Continental Supersports to a stranger, or even a mate, you’d struggle to make a rational case for it. It’s a great big six-litre contradiction: luxury and lightweight. Sporty and refined. Gentlemanly, yet caddish. And to be quite frank, it’s often not brilliant. If you wanted a super-GT that was dynamite on a back road, you’d have been better off with an Aston Martin DBS or Maserati GranTurismo.

But there is charm here, partly because of how improbable the idea must’ve seemed to make a ‘hardcore’ Conti. It’s also to our eyes the best looking first-gen Conti GT. And you’d have to admit there’s a lot of original ‘Bentley Boys’ spirit in the idea of taking a very well-appointed, luxurious and hefty car and attempting to cover ground faster than much lighter, lither sports cars.

Finding one for sale takes patience. Running one will require deep pockets, and it’s probably a car for a collection rather than a traditional Sunday B-road treat: something to wheel out for special occasions, or when you’re two hours late for a black tie ball and need to arrive ASAP, looking unflappably raffish. But since the old Arnage was laid to rest, you could argue this is the next most outrageous Bentley. It doesn’t make sense. Perhaps that’s why we’re fond of it.

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