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Mini review: 2010 Bentley Continental GT Supersports

November 20, 2009 |  3:51 pm

Bentley Supersports

There are many ways in which the Bentley Continental GT Supersports is appalling. 

There is the price, of course: $274,000. 

There’s the fact that when you roll down the windows and turn up the mega sound system, traffic helicopters fall out of the sky.

There’s the absolutely unavoidable truth that, in the interests of extracting a total of 241 pounds out of the car, Bentley engineers have removed the Continental GT’s lovely front seats and replaced them with cruel Sparco carbon-fiber racing seats that feel as if you are reposing in the jaws of an upholstered crescent wrench. Other weight-saving measures include a back-seat-ectomy (the space behind the front seats is now a cargo bench trimmed with diamond-quilt Alcantara, and a carbon fiber crossbar transects the cabin); 16.5-inch carbon-ceramic brakes instead of steel brakes; and new ultra-light, ultra-enormous 20-inch alloy wheels and specially developed tires.

Bentley Supersports wheelYou could likewise abhor the sheer unreasonable power of the thing: For this last model iteration of the now-familiar GT, the twin-turbo W12 engine has been dialed up to produce 621 hp and 590 pound-feet of torque, unleashed -- like the Colorado through a Hoover Dam spillway -- through a six-speed ZF tranny and all-wheel-drive system. So configured, this 4,950-pound chunk of Gilbraltar rockets to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 100 mph in 8.9 seconds. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a war crime of torque; a sinister conspiracy of grip and tire adhesion; a crime of accelerative passion. Top speed: 204 mph. The horror. The horror.

I spent a couple of days with the Supersports -- which looks like it means to suck you into its brake ducts any second -- and, let me tell you, this car is quite sporty. Between the valvetrain articulation and the variable boost logic of the turbos, the torque curve is essentially flat so that, when you stomp the throttle, the initial chiropractic concussion in the back is just the beginning. Given enough room the car will just continue to rush forward, gathering speed and momentum and squeezing you ever more violently into the seat like it’s trying to make rich-guy juice.

Bentley Supersports engine The carbon-ceramic brakes -- the largest ever fitted to a passenger car -- are likewise over-scaled and breathtaking. It’s like throwing the 16-mm film of your life into super slo-mo.

However, the most odious, heinous, galling part of the Supersports is that Bentley is using this car to make an environmental statement. This car will be E-85 capable, Bentley says, and using said biofuel will reduce the car’s per-mile carbon emissions up to 70%. That’s assuming you can find biofuel and assuming that biofuel is made from something other than corn. Other caveats and asterisks must be invoked as well to make the statement even notionally valid. To say the least, it’s a bit of a stretch.

Oh no, Bentley. No you didn’t.

-- Dan Neil

Photo credits: Dan Neil