By Nick Jones
It’s not every day you get to play with a car that’s worth nearly two hundred grand.
Arguably the world’s most luxurious soft top, the Continental Supersports has a unique blend of pace, agility and luxurious comfort that very few cars can match, let alone surpass.
If ever there was an open recognition of money as a passport to power then this absolutely is it.
Few cars in the world look as good as this one does – the great lines, the sculpted body and its sheer presence.
The distinctive twin headlights and that immense grille dominate up-front and I simply love the way the arches protrude as if sculpted rather than just jut out; huge wheels sit under them.
At the back, the whole package is one of further beauty – every line, the fit and finish crafted.
Thankfully, the whole operation of the roof means it’ll stow away nicely nowhere to be seen. It’s a thing of beauty!
This Supersports is one fast car, the immense W12 twin-turbo engine produces nearly 600bhp, so it’ll do close-on 200mph with the roof up and, should you want the fastest blow-dry anywhere, 190mph with the top down.
The Bentley powerplant is effectively two three-litre V6 engines bolted together at the crank, a turbo strapped to each bank.
The 0-60mph time is a blistering 3.9 seconds but this is a heavy car and lugging all that weight around has a price. Don’t expect to better 15mpg on any kind of journey.
Torque is delivered from a lowly 1,600rpm, ensuring incredible amounts of power on demand but delivered evenly throughout the power range, a Bentley characteristic.
The noise it makes is pretty damn good too, with or without the roof down.
Instead of a Ferrari-esque scream or a howl from a big V8, the Bentley has a Spitfire muted growl to it that is as inspiring as it is infectious.
The best bit is the fact the roof comes down at the touch of a button and sunshine is only a few seconds away –and what a way to soak up a few rays.
On the road, it really surprised me how nimble it feels, no doubt due to the excellent chassis set-up. It changes direction commendably for such a big car, and as you can imagine the passengers are cossetted like members of the Royal family.
Stopping a car of this magnitude is left to the largest disc brakes found on any car, and thankfully they worked perfectly. I’d recommend the carbon option ones fitted to my test car.
One thing to remember with this Bentley is it has four wheel drive, and as a result the handling is incredible – it feels very firmly planted to the road.
The new ESP system it has provides a greater degree of driver interaction and control – particularly from standing starts and on low traction surfaces.
Climb inside and one wonders how many hides have been sacrificed to produce this wonderful smell and ultimate comfort. Most of the money you have to find to own one has been saved for the interior.
Mine had massage seats in the front (£360) plus the comfort seat option for all four chairs (£2,045) with the Naim for Bentley Premium Audio System (£5,260) and a TV tuner to the infotainment system (£905)
Other highlights in the Bentley include the 20in ten-spoke Supersports steering wheel (£860) and the GPS full-fit tracking system (£1,295). I had plenty of room up front but should you want to move the seats a bit closer to the dashboard, two passengers could climb in the back easily.
The Bentley is a remarkably easy car to live with, whether sauntering along at the weekend, or using it everyday.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but unfortunately had to give it back after a week. Damn. Also, and despite the convertible section disappearing into the rear section, I did mange to get the golf clubs in it and the Bentley took pride of place in the car park.
The Bentley has kudos and imbues its driver with an automatic respect, it is as timeless as an old master.
Price as tested – a cool £197,000... and worth every penny.