High horsepower, heavy hips, and huge performance are not characteristics typically associated with the greening of luxury cars. Yet the generally recyclable, relatively fuel-efficient Bentley Continental Supersports manages to stake out its own middle ground between the usually distinct worlds of environmentally friendly engineering and serious motoring. The result is a genuine automotive achievement that exercises social conscience by thoughtful means rather than by compromising mechanicals or performance.
The Continental Supersports is environmentally correct. Not only does this Bentley employ flex-fuel technology, but its fuel efficiency is further enhanced by the use of composite materials and the elimination of nonessential features. Moreover, well-to-wheel pollutants have been virtually abolished, and should one decide to go into the business of salvaging Bentleys, nearly all of the materials used in making the car are recyclable.
Yet in spite of these concessions to greenness, the $267,000 Supersports remains a super coupe—definitely the fastest and most powerful beast ever from Bentley, thanks to a twin-turbocharged W-12 engine that achieves a top speed of 204 mph and acceleration best measured as muzzle velocity. The car’s handling remains racetrack ready; its steering is an exercise in absolute balance; and its exhaust note sounds like a mighty roar from somewhere deep in the jungle.
A showroom-stock Continental, of course, is born beautiful. The Supersports, with its extra slots and air intakes, is much edgier—and even slightly menacing—in appearance. Black, split-spoke wheels that shriek Le Mans add to this beefier, high-speed look, as do the carbon-fiber dashboard and interior cabin trim.
Automotive pioneer W.O. Bentley said that, to be a success in business, one need only examine what others are producing and simply make it better. The Supersports suggests that the design team at Bentley is apparently still listening to the old man.
Bentley Motors, www.bentleymotors.com