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The Complete Bentley

Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium

Bentley Continental Supersports
(since 2009)

Bentley Continental Supersports

When the Bentley Continental Supersports was launched in March 2009 the 2-door coupé impressed with superlative characteristics. It was the fastest, most powerful Bentley ever. A maximum power of 621bhp (630PS), acceleration from 0 – 60mph in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 204mph (329km/h) positioned this as a true super sports car. But then in that peculiar market niche the half-life of superlatives is quite limited because at the very top quick succession of superior achievements and toughest competition reign supreme – hence it was predictable that even more impressive figures would be features of the next model or one from a competitor.

Bentley Continental Supersports

So it was advisable to invest an increased amount of analysis to inquire into the merits of the new model. A magnitude of remarkable features was noticed that separated the Bentley Continental Supersports from the Bentley Continental GT ‘Speed’ and showed almost a borderline when compared to the basic model Bentley Continental GT. Being made as strict 2-seater with the room behind the seats formed as a stowage deck for the luggage of driver and co-pilot the latest addition to the model range had the advantage of some 110kg lower weight. To opt for all-new lightweight sports seats with carbon fibre clamshell rear panels in conjunction with abandonment of low profile comfort-features (e.g. height adjustment) resulted in a weight saving of 45kg. Cross-drilled carbon-ceramic brakes were standard and such the weight was reduced by another 20kg. New 10-spoke light alloy wheels helped to reduce unsprung and rotating mass by a further 10kg. In addition to other advantages the steering's precise response and overall handling did benefit. To focus the driving experience with the emphasis on grip, agility and response a multitude of other components, too, were lightweight.

Whether or not in later years an analysis perhaps will concentrate on an entirely different aspect the future will show. The Bentley Continental Supersports was the manufacturers first FlexFuel performance car. The W12 6-litre power unit had the technology to run on petrol, E85 Bioethanol or any mix of these two fuels. A fuel quality sensor in the fuel supply circuit permanently did monitor the current mix of petrol and Bioethanol. Thus it was guaranteed that all performance parameters remained balanced and consistent due to the engine control unit's highly sophisticated real time reaction. Irrespective of the fuel ratio power and torque remained constant. New valve coatings and hardened valve seat material for additional lubrication were required, a new closed loop fuel rail design with pressure sensor (higher fuel flow rates are essential when bioethanol is used) and new spark plugs with a wider heat range for slower combustion. It had to be taken into consideration that bioethanol is aggressively corrosive, however the advantage of a net CO2 reduction was considered more important. Bentley were committed on a two-fold strategy. By 2012 the entire Bentley fleet should be capable of running on renewable fuel through the introduction of flexFuel technology with engines capable of running seamlessly on biofuel, petrol or any mix of the these. Order of the day was to achieve such without sacrificing performance and luxury that were a hallmark of Bentley’s products.

Bentley Continental Supersports

The car showed a more muscular appearance with the newly shaped side panels and re-curved rear wheel arches to accommodate a 2in (55mm) increase in rear track. At the front a distinctive centre air intake and vertical grilles fed a 10 percent higher volume of air to the turbochargers’ intercoolers and bonnet vents did help to extract hot air from the engine bay. Obviously the body had been developed from the Bentley Continental GT but the new model sported distinctive characteristics in outward appearance and as regards the cabin. A character of its own was reflected by a unique dar-smoked steel finish to all exterior brightware, i.e. front grilles, window surrounds, lamp bezels and wheels. That had been achieved by a complex ‘Physical Vapour Deposition’ process’ giving a lustrous and highly durable finish to all stainless steel components. Such a process to provide decorative coating had not been used previously in car industry.

Bentley Continental Supersports

As regards the interior it was obvious from a quick glance that only steering wheel and gearlever showed leather, ‘Soft Touch’ leather to be precise, whereas headlining, rear compartment and the seats’ centre panels were trimmed in Alcantara, a suede-like material. The use of carbon-fibre wasn’t limited to the seats’ clamshell backs but replaced the wood veneers on the fascia and centre console; there was a carbon fibre luggage retaining beam attached to the stowage area, too, that replaced the rear seats. A single armrest was to be found (the other models had twin centre armrests) and – because the new sports seats didn’t have integrated belts, the top seatbelt anchorage was re-located to the B-post.

From the development of Bentley Continental GT emerged a supercar that combined an exhilarating, almost extreme driving experience with the fact that no doubt was left of the manufacturer’s and its clients’ environmental commitment.

Bentley Continental Supersports

Technical Data Bentley Continental Supersports:
Light Alloy W12-cylinder-engine (72deg angle between two main banks, 15deg between staggered cylinders), bore x stroke 84 x 90.2 mm, capacity 5998 cc; 4 valves per cylinder, chain-driven DOHC per bank, cam phased inlet and outlet; Bosch digital engine control, twin turbochargers, 600PS / 621 bhp / 449kW) at 6000rpm, torque 800Nm (590lb ft) at 1700 to 5600rev/min; Fuel E85 & 98 (95) RON; ZF 6-speed ‘Quickshift’ automatic gearbox; continuous four-wheel drive with 40/60 rear bias torque split, central Torsen differential; suspension front: four-link double wishbones, computer-controlled self-levelling air suspension, anti-roll bar; suspension rear:: trapezoidal multi-link, computer-controlled self-levelling air suspension, anti-roll bar; dampers: continuous damping control with four adjustable settings, electronic traction control, electronic stability program; carbon/ceramic brakes, cross-drilled, front discs 420mm diameter, rear 356mm diameter; HBA "Hydraulic Brake Assist" and EBD "Electronic Brakeforce Distribution", MSR drag torque control; kerb weight 4,939 lbs (2240 kg), wheelbase 108.07in (2745 mm), track front 63.9in (1,623mm), track rear 65.2in (1,657mm); wheels 20" x 9.5J 10-spoke (black chrome or painted) with tyres 275/35x20 Pirelli P-Zero UHP; electronic tyre pressure monitoring system; max. speed 204mph (329km/h), 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds (0-100km/h in 3.9s), 0-100mph in 8.9 seconds (0-160km/h in 8.9s) , 30-50 mph in 1.6 seconds (50-80 km/h in.6 s), 50-70 mph in 2.1 seconds (80-120 km/h in 2.6 s); carbon dioxide emissions 388g/km; emission controls EU IV and US Lev II.

Bentley Continental Supersports

Photos: Bentley Motors)

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