Red-lining the green Bentley

Posted by Paul Horrell at 11:06 am on Wednesday July 22, 2009

Bentley_Continental_SupersportsJust been out for an ‘engineering drive’ in a late prototype of the Bentley Supersports. The one Derek Bell drove at Goodwood. The development chief says it’s a Ferrari 599 rival. Well yes, it was a wet day on difficult Cheshire roads, and I don’t think a 599 would have kept up.

The Supersports is due on sale late this year. It’s a serious makeover of the Continental GT. Which is why the GT bit of the name has been dropped. It’s 110kg lighter than a GT Speed for a start, which, together with a power upgrade to 620bhp and a faster-shifting autobox, gets the 0-60 time comfortably under four seconds.

The pork has fallen off because there’s no back seat, and the front ones are simple carbon-hull buckets. The wheels and suspension are lightened too.

The suspension is stiffer and better damped. The drive is more rear-biased than before. The rear track is wider so the body even gets new rear wings. The front end looks far meaner, its gobbling intakes channeling extra air to the intercoolers. See? Big changes.

And it feels a lot different. Somehow the sense is of rather more than 110kg having fallen off. There’s a whole new agility: it carves into every corner with urgency and flatness. Get on the throttle and it subtly alters its line, aiming you in towards the apex rather than out away from it. This is no understeering barge. And yes, the 4WD means wet-road traction is immense.
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Paradoxically this is being billed as the ‘green Bentley’ and not just as the Ferrari-eating Bentley. How come? because it’s the first Bentley to run on biofuel. But don’t worry, you don’t have to fill it with hard-to-find ethanol. You can use petrol and the performance, thanks to some clever engine management, will be equally brutal.

Look, it’s no Audi R8 V10. It’s still a big front-engined coupe that can act the GT when you set the slushbox to ‘auto’ and the air suspension to ‘comfort’. But on this brief impression, it can wear the mask of a supercar when it needs to.

  1. I am working! said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to comment Report comment

    This will be good for a Cheshire footballer or a drug dealer.

  2. Jimo said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Looks really good

  3. cheese on toast said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i saw it at goodwood and it looked quite groovy indeed.

  4. Charlie said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to comment Report comment

    What’s the point?

    The whole point of a Bentley is to go somewhere quickly and comfortably. This only does quickly. Bentley is meant to be a sporty version of cars Rolls Royce would normally make without turbo charged engines if Bentley didn’t exist.

    This car, if anything, is a Gentleman’s racer, and a Gentleman would probably walk straight past it and ask for a continental GT.

  5. ferrari fan said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to comment Report comment

    this could never be as fast as a ferrari 599, ferrari is the best!!!!

  6. cookie said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to comment Report comment

    looks ace is properly going to be very fast but it will not be as good as the ferrari 599

  7. Alfaman said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to comment Report comment

    well, if it could be faster than a 599 AND as luxurious and comfy as the normal one, then it would really be an achievement, otherwise it all sounds a bit silly…

  8. KarMa said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Eagerly waiting for a Bentley Cayenne rival SUV…. not

  9. nHeroGo said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm Link to comment Report comment

    110kg. There’s more to shave off. I suppose a carbonfiber bonnet and roof is hard to make, but it would take off a lot more. Imagine thin plastic windows on a Bentley – that would be wrong.

  10. skul said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    hmm green bentley wotever next

    alcoholic carrots?

  11. PetrolHead247 said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

    The original GT was basically a VW Phaeton underneath, so this new model is a stripped-out trackday-ready VW Phaeton. Hmmm… However it does sound like they’ve put a huge amount of hard work in to remove 110kg and boost the power up to 620bhp.

    I can imagine this being as fast if not faster than a standard 599, maybe not the new HGTE but certainly the standard model. The Bentley’s 4WD system will also help with cornering, the extra power gives it a better chance among the top cars and less weight also means better handling.

    But the huge new vents combined with the horrible circular headlights means it looks even more ugly, catastrophically ugly infact. Also you wouldn’t really choose a Bentley over an Aston or Jag, unless your a footballer.

    This new ‘green Bentley’ has incredible performance figures and has had a lot of hard work put into it, but it is ugly and it’s main rival is the awesome 599, one of the greatest money can buy today.

  12. PetrolHead247 said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Paul, could you tell me how much this new Bentley costs?

    Many thanks, PetrolHead247.

  13. sb360 said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I imagine with that sort of power and grip it would be faster than nearly anything in the wet or on uneven roads but probably wouldnt keep up with the 599 on a dry track.

  14. Paul Horrell said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 3:57 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @ PetrolHead247 (13) – It’s £163,000. Happy to be of service.

    @ Ferrarifan and Cookie – Have either of you actually driven a 599? Just asking.

  15. PetrolHead247 said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 4:16 pm Link to comment Report comment

    So at £163,000 it only around £3,000 more than the DBS which won’t be able to keep up with the Bentley. But the Bentley’s main rival – the 599 – is around £35,000 more! So the Bentley’s a bargain in a way. I’m starting to like it even more.

    Thanks Paul btw.

  16. PetrolHead247 said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm Link to comment Report comment

    *it’s

  17. Tak said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 5:39 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Weird stuff. ‘Let’s make a juggernaut heavy, hyperluxury and superfast coupe and then strip it slightly to make a GT3 version with no downforce.’ ‘Yeah, sensible idea.’ Very brave move, to say the least. They might lose the luxury customer for obvious reasons, and the sporty one in accident statistics. How was the handling in fast corners, Paul? Scary?

  18. Paul Horrell said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 6:10 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @ Tak 18 – Drove it one the road in the wet so high-speed corners not really an issue. But the rear spoiler is bigger. Yes, this is still a heavy car.

  19. John G said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm Link to comment Report comment

    There’s no point in it, THERE ARE THINGS CALLED CORNERS and even with all that weight off it will still be sluggish round them. I WANT it to be good, but i don’t think it will be.

  20. John G said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm Link to comment Report comment

    PS. a didn’t read what Paul said before me, so i wasn’t copying him

  21. John G said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm Link to comment Report comment

    P.S and a DBS would thrash it round corners and when it got to about 80 all mid-torque would come out AND there’s something called a DBRS9.

  22. car mad said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 8:25 pm Link to comment Report comment

    if you compare a bentley to an audi you can say a continental is a good everyday car but someone else could say the rs4 or the r8.still looks good just like most bentleys.got the same grill as the continental

  23. ccx said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to comment Report comment

    bentley always creats a good car but it wont beat the 599.the 599 looks better and is faster which is all you really need plus the interior.

  24. keeny88 said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I cant see the point in this car, if i wanted something which was fast and uncomfortable why would i go for something that still weighs so much despite the cuts. Even if it lost 500kg it would still be too fat to be any good.

  25. Mikeado said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    You know Bentley are running out of ways to ruin their own car when front bumper design looks like that of a Vauxhall Insignia VXR. But they needn’t worry – the Premier League will do the ruining for them.

    And isn’t a trackday Bentley counter-intuitive? And stupid?

  26. Mikeado said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to comment Report comment

    John G, the DBRS9 isn’t road legal. It’s just a slower, cheaper version of the DBR9 for Gentlemen Racers. Also it’s revs not speed that determine torque output.

  27. cristiano said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Why don´t you put the stig and some stig´s cousins racing with this bentley, the 599 and other cars that can make the things interesting (like one zonda, the gt-r or the ford gt) in a fast track? There is in portugal a new track, in Algarve. And because some roads in Porugal are difficult you can use that to see how god is the bentley in the road.

    p.s ( I must say that my english is horrible)

  28. Nick said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    This should be interesting, it rather harks back to the old “blower” bentley that James Bond drove in the original books.

  29. coolerdude44 said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 10:04 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i’m sorry but carbon fibre seats? no rear seats, and 100 kg lighter? who wants an uncomfortable bentley? seriously? cuz the ferrari 599 might be 5% slower, but 95% more comfortable now that these “improvements” have been made. and which one would you want?

  30. GlennG said...
    Wednesday July 22, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i think i shall stick to ferrari’s for sports, bentley should stick to luxury, if i want a fast luxury car i will plump for a AMG black series model.

  31. jb68902 said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 12:49 am Link to comment Report comment

    This car is utterly pointless for a few reasons. The most important being this: A vulgar footballer with a lot of money can afford a variety of exotics. So if he wants a track car he’ll have a Ferrari and he also wants a luxury, go-to-Saville Row-for-a-fitting car, so he’ll also by a Continental GT.

  32. JayJoy said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 1:13 am Link to comment Report comment

    Get a range rover!

  33. novakid said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 5:44 am Link to comment Report comment

    That’s one good looking Bentley.

  34. Nathan said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 10:39 am Link to comment Report comment

    Agreed. ;)

  35. RobR2383 said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I work at bentley and have bn lucky enough to have bn out in this car. it is fantastic! you cant help but smill like a jackass while in it

  36. SKYLINE R34 said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to comment Report comment

    This car is very good .. but not so much as the skyline r35 … I see that the car loses many speed on having taken corners .. the suspension and aerodynamics are very seemed to that of the ferrari 599

  37. Tak said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to comment Report comment

    This car is probably not about sales, then. It’s about Bentley making a statement. Several statements in one go, in fact. As such, it’s good. They always wanted to get away from the old RR-years by going sporty and they want to be seen to be green. Their next move will probably be a ‘normal’ GT on biofuel. Or even hybrid?

  38. Showie said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to comment Report comment

    would anyone take it over a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano though? especially now that the Handeling GTC pack is an option?

    actually i would ditch both of them and go for the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti HGTC. in blue.
    from an 18 year old… if i had the money.

  39. shabbarown said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I think the wife would love this in pink!

  40. Svrallo Svrallone said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Paul you’re getting even more sarcastic recently, what’s the matter? Did you get the clarkson flu (N1-V8-A1)?
    about the car, I like it, but still don’t feel the rivalry with other car, i mean, it’s a personal thing, but i see the gt line a bit as a class of his own.

  41. 3hlang said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    why aren’t they busy fixing the styling instead of making it even worse? just make that car but with a different body.

  42. deiv007 said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

    did you know that there is a new supercar called marussi surprisingly its russian. it looks a bit like a lambo but it probbably isnt as good as one

  43. B. Continental said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I luv it

  44. A. Martin said...
    Thursday July 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I h8 it wiov a passion

  45. Lloydy said...
    Friday July 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Wow well it looks and sounds like the package that the C-GT should have been in the first place. Now what i want to see is a Flying Spur Supersports :D

    p.s 44+45, bit obvious its the same person due to the writing form and name…lame ;)

  46. John G said...
    Friday July 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Mik guy with a funny name, torque in Astons are put high in the rev range, thats what i meant, AND that Bently wont work on the road.

    P.S the DBRS9 is one the greatest G.T racing cars ever.

  47. John G said...
    Friday July 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to comment Report comment

    AND dont dis the Vauxhalls, the greatest cheap car manufacturer in the world.

  48. beeney83 said...
    Friday July 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I am a massive of the 599,and to be honest the league the 599 is in i can’t imagine that the Bentley is even in the same division.

    No doubt the Bentley will be a very very good car.

  49. MITSUBISHI_BOY said...
    Saturday July 25, 2009 at 3:53 am Link to comment Report comment

    It seems that the new Bentley will be very impressive on the road .

  50. MITSUBISHI_BOY_ said...
    Saturday July 25, 2009 at 3:55 am Link to comment Report comment

    It will be amazing .

  51. Aston man said...
    Saturday July 25, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to comment Report comment

    This car looks amazing!
    But i still think the aston martin dbs is a much better looking thing.

  52. The Don said...
    Sunday July 26, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to comment Report comment

    Bentleys r horrible big heavy ugly machines give me a Maserati Gran Turismo anyday.

  53. Lamboman said...
    Sunday July 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Dit is zowiezow geeeen betere bak dan een 599!!
    Dat kan niet!! Echt Niet!!

  54. lambosareforeva said...
    Sunday July 26, 2009 at 10:01 pm Link to comment Report comment

    that looks sick. i want one

  55. who i am said...
    Sunday July 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link to comment Report comment

    cool car zrobione przez wolksvagen i dlatego lubie this car

  56. Marco said...
    Monday July 27, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to comment Report comment

    Would anyone take it over a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano though?

    NO.

  57. Dirty Dog said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Noooooo its all wrong must have lots of levver to choo and poo on and many places to hide my scrofulus little nick nacks when master not looking. Carbon fibre bad for doggies rike me

  58. CRobbo said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 4:46 pm Link to comment Report comment

    WTF???? How can anyone think that this looks good? If Bentley want to do a “serious” makover of one of their cars, then change the initial design, dont just add vents to something that looks as if it should be in black and white!

  59. Badger said...
    Saturday August 1, 2009 at 8:33 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I work for Bentley and have been up close and personal with the GTSS. Although the seat frames are Carbon Fibre, they are comfortable… In terms of appearance, I thought it was a little odd, until I saw it in person, it’s fantastic to look at…. And, sorry to say for all of the 599 fanboys, the GTSS would muller the Fiorano.

  60. matyde said...
    Monday August 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm Link to comment Report comment

    looks like a zonvo

  61. KarMa said...
    Tuesday August 11, 2009 at 8:38 pm Link to comment Report comment

    “Would anyone take it over a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano though?”

    not me

    ’cause, even if “the GTSS would muller the Fiorano.” proves true, I couldn’t care less, Bentley being not Aston Martin, aka the only British brand that would make me undecided. Of course this has nothing to do about how functional is this Bentley, I’m sure it’s a jolly good car, it’s just too “posh gangsta” for my style.

  62. MGRover said...
    Wednesday August 12, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to comment Report comment

    KarMa, of course SOMEONE would take over a Fezza 599, a bloody Premiership footballer that’s who!! LOL

    How can a car that fast and powerful be green?
    That’s like saying we should all ditch solar panels and G-Wizzs’ and have Battersea Power Sation in our back garden!

  63. KarMa said...
    Saturday August 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Of course :) Just said “not me”, didn’t say “nobody will buy this”… it has to do with me being an amateur rower and not a pro footballer indeed.

    I mean, if Porsche sells a lot of Cayennes there’s hope for anything that looks better than that.
    Of course you also CAN call this car green… if your biology grades in school looked close to those that the average footballer or gangster was getting at intermediate you can. See? see? it does make sense after all.

  64. newcastle647 said...
    Saturday August 29, 2009 at 10:01 am Link to comment Report comment

    I wouldn’t buy a Bentley even though they are alright cars Bentleys are not for me

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