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Car Review

Bentley Continental Supersports review

£163,000
710
Published: 22 Dec 2023
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Bentley admits the Supersports kind of came about by accident. The company’s official line goes like this: “The Supersports began as an ‘under the radar’ project within Bentley’s Engineering Division, to see what effect reducing the weight of a Continental GT would have on performance.”

All things being relative, the Conti GT’s diet was not exactly transformative. Sure, by ditching the back seats, fitting carbon bucket chairs up front, silicon ceramic brakes and lighter wheels, a healthy 110kg was saved from the usual W12 Continental GT’s girth. But we’re still talking about a car which weighed in at 2,204kg.

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SO DOES IT GO LIKE A LIGHTER CAR? 

It feels huge, heavy and brutish. But with 621bhp on tap and a mighty 664lb ft of torque present from 1,700rpm right through to 5,600rpm, it goes like a train.

There are two phases to the performance. First, a pause while the gearbox sorts itself out. The second arrives as the engine passes about 4,000rpm. At this moment you sense the enormous rush of twin-turbo boost being delivered, and the SS absolutely flies. It’s as if you’ve jettisoned 300-400kg. As ever with the W12, the noise is industrial rather than exotic: a rumble rather than a howl. So it’s not as exciting as flooring a Ferrari 599… but the outright pace is right up there with the Italian.

Interesting fact: drive the SS on a wet day and you don’t need windscreen wipers. With the lanky gearlever slotted back into S for Sport, it’ll peel raindrops vertically off the screen.

YOU SAID IT GOES LIKE A TRAIN. DOES IT CORNER LIKE IT'S ON RAILS?

A 40:60 rear-biased all-wheel drive system, triple-figure weight saving and 50mm wider track can only do so much when asked to make a small moon change its orbit. You can always sense a huge anvil of weight is hanging out ahead of you, and that the technique for demolishing a road is to remember you’ve got immense power in reserve.

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So, don’t feel tempted to attack a bend. Brake late – the huge ceramic brakes are up to the task – take it easy as you swing through the corner, then get on the power nice and early to account for the powertrain lag. Presently, the turbos re-engage and you’re once again rearing up and hurling your quilted leather boudoir at the horizon.

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