New Bentley Continental Supersports will arrive in 2014 with 650 bhp

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 3, 2013

By sometime around 2014, Bentley will launch a 650bhp-plus Continental Supersports model as a new high-performance flagship coupé. This lightweight model will feature carbonfibre panels and stiffer suspension. It’s possible that its cabin will be stripped out. It’s also likely that its twin-turbo W12 will have a higher output.

In autumn 2009, Bentley launched a Supersports in advance of the run-out of the former-gen Continental GT. However, this new car will soon be a long-term element of this range. The Supersports will bridge the gap from the existing 616bhp Speed model to the much awaited road-going Continental GT3 with an output of more than 675bhp that Bentley hopes to launch in 2015 together with a race-ready Continental GT3 customer car.

The Supersports’ output will be higher than that of the Speed by 30bhp or so. This is comparable to what Porsche does to its models, which can be distinguished with small power differences. According to a Bentley insider, the Supersports won’t be about “pure power” since there’s a limit to the amount of power that can be extracted.

So the other modifications will concentrate on reducing the kerb weight, improving gearchange speeds, changing the chassis settings and boosting braking power. These improvements will be centered on a sharper driving experience with better steering and handling, steadier body control and a sportier exhaust note. To reduce the weight, Bentley is planning to put in carbonfibre body panels, lightweight composite seats and maybe stripping out the rear seats to create a two-seat cabin.

The most powerful Bentley model

The most powerful Bentley model so far is the new Bentley Continental Supersports. Aside from its supercar performance and a focused driving experience, the new Bentley Continental Supersports pioneers the use of FlexFuel technology in the luxury sector, which means this muscular two-seater could be fueled with petrol and biofuel – the first Bentley to do so.

With this capability, the Continental Supersports marks the starting point for fulfilling Bentley’s commitment to make its entire model range compatible with renewable fuels by 2012. The new Bentley Continental Supersports will be FlexFuel compatible in the majority of markets when it is launched globally in autumn 2009. Its North American versions will be FlexFuel compatible by summer 2010, once regulatory approval is attained.

Interestingly, the Bentley Continental Supersports started as an 'under the radar' project that explores whether it is possible to make the Bentley Continental GT lighter, yet more powerful. In just 24 months, this project became an official new car program and work quickly began. The resulting car became the Bentley Continental Supersports that is powered by a W12 engine delivering 630PS (621 bhp) of output through a 'Quickshift' transmission.

This powertrain allows the Continental Supersports to sprint from nil to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds (0-100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds) and achieve a top speed of 204 mph (329 km/h). Of course, this stunning performance is supported by a series of chassis improvements. For instance, Bentley made use of lighter components and retuned the supercar’s steering and suspension as well as it dampers and anti-roll bars. It comes with an all-wheel drive system, a 40:60 rear-biased torque split, a wider rear track, and a distinct unique electronic stability program making the new Bentley Continental Supersports as agile as ever.

It also employs, as standard bespoke lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels and carbon ceramic brakes. In terms of weight, the new Bentley Continental Supersports is around 110 kg (243 lbs) lighter than the Bentley Continental GT Speed. In designing the Continental Supersports, designers adhered to the 'form following function' design philosophy, as evidenced by purposeful sculptural forms that indicate the revisions that occurred inside.

For instance, a more powerful engine means a need for more air flowing to the twin turbocharger intercoolers and cooling system. This was addressed by providing the new Bentley Continental Supersports with large vertical intake apertures and twin bonnet vents. In addition, the new flared rear wings accommodating the car’s wider rear track have been designed to underscore its dynamic and aggressive stance. At a glance, the new Bentley Continental Supersports dons the looks of the Continental GT while featuring a new and characteristic appearance to reflect its extreme nature.

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