|Driven: 2011 Bentley GTC Supersports Convertible, Rides, September, 2010|
British grand tourers usually boast stately bodywork, clubby cabins, and a molasses slow metabolism for digesting road. Smacking that stereotype upside the head is the Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, the world's fastest four-seat ragtop: this stately land yacht combines Corvette ZR1 power with Gulfstream G550 refinement.
Making lesser Continentals look slouchy in comparison, the boys at Bentley trimmed fat and injected muscle into this nearly $300,000 ride, dropping and tightening the suspension while prompting even more hushed anger from the 6.0 liter V12.
Beyond the vault-like door is a cabin outfitted with the usual Bentley touches—organ stops for the chromed globe-like A/C vents, a knurled texture around the shift knob, and buttery leather. But those precious bits are broken up with manlier touches like carbon fiber surfaces dulled to 65% of the usual sheen, Alcantara inserts, and carbon-backed, manually operated front seats by Sparco. Larger vents and wider bodywork give a huskier road presence, while wheels and brightwork are darkened by a special physical vapor deposition process that arcs metal in a vacuum chamber and bakes it in at 15,000 degrees Celsius.
But don't let the pretty face fool you; this Bentley's all about forward movement, and it gobbles up highway with effortless expedience. Mountains of torque are on tap via the drilled right pedal, and this nearly 3-ton sled conjures 100 mph without breaking a sweat. Little wind noise intrudes during high speed top-down motoring, and it's even more silent with the top up. 420mm front discs are the largest brakes in any production passenger car, and the standard carbon ceramic stoppers make aborting high speed runs relatively drama free—though pedal feedback during one 165 mph braking exercise did feel a bit mushy.
If Ferraris or Lambos are just too douchey, you'll be looking at a short list of supercar convertibles: this Bentley or Aston Martin's DBS Volante. Choose wisely, grasshopper; between these two slick Brits, it's nearly impossible to go wrong.
Bentley didn't skimp when they transformed this ragtop for Supersports duty: fenders were re-tooled to house wider wheels, front inlets grew for better ventilation, and bonnet vents were added for engine cooling.
British grand tourers usually flaunt luxed-out cabins, but this time the theme is plush restraint: carbon fiber-backed seats by Sparco wear leather and diamond-quilted Alcantara, sporting manual controls for weight savings. Carbon fiber dash trim may seem weird for a Bentley, but you can always pay extra for good 'ole fashioned slabs-o-wood.
Getting from zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds is usually an exercise in brutality, but this Bentley's honey smooth power delivery makes hard acceleration buttery smooth.
As mind bending as its performance may be, imagine the possibilities if even more weight had been shed from this 5,269 lb convertible; how 'bout a Super-Dupersports, Bentley?