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Car Review

Bentley Continental Supersports review

£163,000
710
Published: 22 Dec 2023
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Buying

What should I be paying?

With only around 1,200 Coupes (and 700 GTC soft-tops) made during the reign of the Supersports, they’re not for sale on the regular. We found a 40,000-miler for around £37,000, but expect a lower mileage example to cost north of £50,000. Ouch – that’s Honda Civic Type R money, such are the times in which we live.

Running a Supersports isn’t going to be cheap either. With twelve hungry cylinders to feed and a 2.2-tonne kerbweight, you’ll be doing well to match the 17.3mpg claimed economy – with only six speeds to the current GT’s eight, even cruising is a thirsty business.

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Ah, but Bentley will argue there is a workaround. The Supersports was its first car to feature ‘FlexFuel’ capability – aka the possibility to run it on E85 bioethanol or a combination of E85 and regular petrol. The first year of US production didn’t have this feature, but we’re doubtful many American buyers noticed.

WHAT ARE THE RELIABILITY WEAK SPOTS? 

So far as gen1 Contis go, they’re pretty tough cars. The standard versions may have suffered from sub-par maintenance (which is why you can find them with tempting sub-£20k prices these days) but Supersports were a much more esoteric bit of kit and are likely to have lead a more charmed life. That said, very low mileage cars might have chomped through batteries: the Continental has two batteries but even the back-up can drain if it’s a garage queen not hooked up to a trickle charger.

Even with its uprated outputs thanks to better airflow management and a new ECU, the W12 powerplant is understressed. Though it’s tough, the tight packaging of the engine bay mean it’s not the most accessible engine out there, so you’ll pay a hefty labour rate when the time comes to change spark plugs and belts.

One factor to bear in mind is that spares exclusive to the Supersports really ramp up the costs. New ceramic brakes are ten times as expensive as the equally enormous steel items fitted to lesser GTs, the bumpers are like hen’s teeth and you’ll have a four-figure bill in your lap for a new wheel if you kerb the handsome 20-inch rims. Tyre wear is more even than RWD coupes thanks to the trouble-free all-wheel drive system, but budget around £1,500 for a set of four tyres rated to the Supersports’ prodigious weight and speed. Not an area you’ll want to skimp on, when stopping 2.2 tonnes is concerned.

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WHAT ABOUT INSIDE? ANY DANGER ZONES FOR MY WALLET?

Mainly, check for any signs (or smells) of damp or water leakage around the base of windscreen or in the footwells. Continentals of this era have been known to leak in these areas, and wouldn’t you know it, this area also contains a large proportion of wiring and important electrical connections. So if the seller just claims they sloshed a drink down there by accident and it’s nothing to worry about, smile, nod politely, then run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

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