Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible (2010): first official picturesWed, 17 Feb 2010
By Tim Pollard
First Official Pictures
17 February 2010 10:46
Bentley today opened up its new Continental Supersports Convertible – the soft-top version of the E85-swilling Supersports coupé. It's the fastest rag-top ever to roll out of Crewe's gates, hitting 60mph in 3.9sec and 202mph flat out.
The four-seater Conti Supersports Convertible follows closely the format of the 2009 coupé and arrives as Bentley has extended the Supersports' E85 diet across the entire 2011 model year Continental range. It's all part of Bentley's pledge to have every model biofuel-compatible by 2012, a key plank in its bid to make Bentleys acceptable in a carbon-crunched world.
Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible: the hardware
No surprises under the bonnet: the Supersports cab packs the same 621bhp twin-turbo W12, bolstered to cope with the new E85 diet (it can in fact run on biofuel, unleaded or any combination of the two if you like mixing your drinks – without any change to power or torque).
Although some argue that biofuels offer questionable green credentials, Bentley points out that the well-to-wheel CO2 reduction stands at around 70%. Which helps assuage the guilt of its 17mpg combined economy figure and 388g/km of CO2.
It's blindingly fast, thanks to a stout 590lb ft of twist; I passengered race car veteran Derek Bell up the Goodwood hill climb in the Supersports coupé last summer and can vouch for the thrust on offer – it's quite astonishing for such a big car. The 90kg weight saving over the existing GTC Speed model helps, of course.
The engineering changes
As with the coupé, the rag-top Supersports has tweaks across almost every aspect of its driveline and chassis. The six-speed ZF auto is programmed to mesh the next cog 50% faster for more brutal gearchanges and the the torque split is now rear-biased 60:40 to stymie understeer during hard cornering.
Don't worry if you want to mooch in your new top-dog Bentley cab; Crewe assures us the Supersports wafts as well as it weaves through the corners, with adjustable dampers to pamper or flatten.
What else is new on the Conti range?
Inside, the Supersports Convertible features satin-effect carbonfibre trim, Alcantara and soft leathers for a cosseting cabin. But all Continental models now get six new paint colours, intelligent radar-based cruise control that can crawl through traffic and new multimedia functions.
See the new 2011 model year Conti range at the 2010 Geneva motor show.
By Tim Pollard