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First Drive: 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible


The Bentley boys and girls have outdone themselves again in introducing yet another slightly more spectacular version of their drop-top BENTLEY CONTINENTAL to satisfy a thin stratum of buyers who demand a four-seat ragtop that accelerates, brakes, and cruises faster than any other. The base BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GTC's 552 horses and 195-mph top end seemed more than sufficient for the first few years, but soon enough a globe-trotting playboy gets restless for more. Then came the GTC Speed's nice, round 600 horsepower and 200-mph top speed figures, which seemed to supplied sufficient swagger for a time. But as we all know, nothing exceeds like excess, and so the Supersports Convertible is now on deck with 621 horses and a 202-mph top speed.

 Devotees of the brand are already well aware of the Supersports coupe, inspired by the famous 1925 Bentley Supersports, an ultra-high-output riff on the 3-Liter that produced 85 hp in a day when most cars produced 15 hp, and topped out at 100 mph -- the first Bentley to do so. In addition to the Supersports' 3.5-percent power increase -- derived primarily from a bump in boost pressure, enhanced intercooling, and revisions to the engine control system that also render the car E85 ethanol capable -- the big earth-friendly Bentley also went on a crash diet. Carbon-fiber shell front seats with manual adjustment save 45 pounds each, standard carbon-ceramic brakes trim 44 pounds total, additional carbon-fiber and Alcantara interior trim shaves 24 pounds, forged 20-inch wheels save another 22 pounds for the set, and 18 pounds of chassis lightening bring the total savings to 198 pounds (about 3.7 percent of the rather stunning 5300-pound total).

 All Supersports coupes are two-seaters, but the convertible keeps its rear seats because the pop-up roll-bars integrated into the rear headrests are required to pass roll-over standards. And in any case, Bentley convertible customers say they value the extra seats for occasional two-couple outings. Other enhancements shared with the coupe include the additional air inlets and vents needed to cope with the additional heat load, the lowered ride height (down 0.4 inch in front, 0.6 inch in back like the Speed), and stiffer anti-roll bars and bushings.

(Source)


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