As the old saying goes, Rolls Royces are cars meant to be driven for you, while Bentleys are cars meant to be driven by you. That's certainly true in the case of the new Bentley Continental Supersports – if you like speed, that is. Generating 700-hp it's the most powerful production Bentley yet, and with a top speed of 209 mph (336 km/h) it's also the fastest four-seater car going around.
Continuing its impressive resume, the new Continental Supersports is also the fastest accelerating Bentley to hit the road, going from 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 3.4 seconds. This outdoes its soft-top stablemate, the Continental Supersports Convertible, which sprints from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).
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Bentley says the W12 engine under the hood has been redeveloped for the Supersports, with the addition of newly designed, higher-capacity turbochargers and a revised charge-air cooling system helping generate extra boost and power. To better harness the increased output, Bentley has also upgraded the vehicle's cranktrain with new main and conrod bearings.
An increase in power and torque over the 2009 Supersports model of 79 hp and 217 Nm (160 lb-ft) to 700 hp and 1,017 Nm (750 lb-ft) results in a 10 percent power-to-weight ratio improvement and a 25 percent torque-to-weight ratio improvement. The new model also packs an updated version of the torque vectoring system introduced in the Continental GT3-R. This system brakes front and rear wheels individually when accelerating out of corners while keeping full power flowing to the unbraked wheels. It also brakes the inside rear wheel when turning in to improve agility.
The car's all-wheel-drive system keeps the 40/60 front/rear torque split as standard, but can adjusted depending on current traction. There's also a new torque converter that locks up faster to allow the car to launch from standstill more quickly.
Being a luxury four-seater, the Continental Supersports takes a bit of stopping and features the largest brake discs of their type in the world. The carbon ceramic brakes exert their stopping power on 21-inch forged alloy wheels that are 20 kg (44 lb) lighter than previous models. An additional 5 kg (11 lb) of weight savings can be had by choosing the optional titanium exhaust system.
The car has also received some unique styling cues to give it a sportier appearance befitting its world's fastest four-seat production car mantle. Up front there's a carbon-fiber splitter, while down back there's a carbon-fiber diffuser. The carbon-fiber theme extends to the new side sill extensions and bonnet vents, while the front wing vents and new rifled exhaust tailpipe design are finished in gloss-black. Bentley also offers the option of a glass-finished, Supersports-branded, carbon-fiber engine cover.
Despite the performance figures, Bentley promises a luxurious ride for any passengers, with generous sprinklings of Alcantara throughout and carbon-fiber fascia panels joining the 10-strong list of veneers and technical finishes on offer.
You can check out the promo video below.