What's New for 2012
The 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible receives a much-needed infotainment system update. Otherwise, it returns unchanged.
You simply can't please everybody all the time. This adage has rung true throughout history and does again with the 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible. This high-performance variant of the Continental GTC attempts to appeal to the typical Bentley shopper with an eye for open-air opulence and luxury, yet also tries to appeal to those attracted to exotic sports cars. The result is a vehicle that appeals only to the narrow market segment where these worlds collide.
In all likelihood, the base Continental GTC will satisfy a wide variety of drivers who consider performance a priority. With a 0-60-mph time of less than 5 seconds and a top speed of 199 mph, it's certainly no slouch. The Supersports tops the GTC with sharper handling, quicker acceleration and a top speed in excess of 200 mph. The numbers don't lie, but neither does this number: $74,800. That's the premium you'll have to pay for the Supersports Convertible.
Opting for the Continental Supersports Convertible will also force buyers to make further sacrifices, since the suspension is firmer, which adds notable harshness to the ride quality. Additionally, the manually adjusted seats seem out of place in a car that costs in excess of a quarter of a million dollars. At least the infotainment system gets a long-overdue upgrade; for 2012, the Supersports receives the GTC's updated unit.
While the 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports should appeal strongly to luxury-minded buyers, others might be better served by more traditional drop-top exotic cars. The Aston Martin DBS convertible is similarly priced and offers a more balanced blend of luxury and performance. Ferrari's 458 Italia Spider will likely be less expensive and offers more agility. And there's always the stalwart Porsche 911 lineup, with a wide spectrum of performance to fit a variety of tastes.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible is a two-seat high-performance version of the Continental GTC that is offered in a single well-appointed trim level.
Standard features include 20-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, a rear spoiler, bi-xenon headlamps, a power folding top, parking sensors, unique exterior styling, automatic wipers, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rear parcel shelf, four-way adjustable front seats, faux-suede upholstery and trim, sport steering wheel, carbon-fiber trim, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker stereo with 15GB of music storage, an iPod interface and a lifetime satellite radio subscription. A navigation system with Google Map compatibility and real-time traffic is also included.
Relative to the regular GTC, there are fewer options available for the performance-oriented Supersports. Still, the list includes a power trunk, a rearview camera, multiple two-tone interior color choices, a 15-speaker Naim premium audio system and the option to reinstall the regular Continental GTC's seats.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible is powered by a 6.0-liter W12 that produces a whopping 621 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the Supersports hit 60 mph from a standstill in 3.8 seconds on its way to its stated top speed of 204 mph. It's no surprise that fuel economy is poor, at an EPA-estimated 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
Standard safety features for the Continental Supersports Convertible include antilock carbon-ceramic disc brakes, stability and traction control and side curtain airbags (coupe). In Edmunds brake testing, a Supersports coupe came to a stop from 60 mph in a very short 109 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
In keeping with the Supersports' slant on performance, its interior foregoes Bentley's customary rich leather and impeccable wood veneers for a sportier aesthetic. Track-inspired carbon fiber and faux suede are featured, and the GTC's comfortable front seats have been replaced with lightweight racing buckets. Unfortunately these seats do not feature power adjustments, nor are they height-adjustable. Bentley will custom fit the seats to the driver; this works if there's only one driver, but is a poor solution if you have, for example, a smaller spouse who regularly pilots the car.
Unlike the coupe, the convertible features two rear seats instead of a parcel shelf, but legroom is meager. That parcel shelf would probably come in handy, since the convertible's trunk can only hold 7 cubic feet of cargo; its capacity is half that of the coupe's and 2 cubes less than that of the Continental GTC.
Seat and trunk issues aside, the Supersports' interior is as beautifully made as that of any other Bentley. Every element of the cabin seems as though it were artfully created by a master craftsman, whether it's the knurled chrome switchgear or expertly laid carbon fiber.
Tipping the scales at 5,280 pounds, the 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible is no featherweight. The Coupe, however, managed to run through our slalom course at 67.8 mph ? a speed that's comparable to that of the much lighter BMW M3 Convertible. We expect the Supersports Convertible won't be too far off the pace.
It's an impressive feat, no doubt, but the car's heft didn't go unnoticed. Those accustomed to the plush Bentley ride quality may be in for a bit of a surprise, too, as the Supersports' firmness is considerably less luxurious, regardless of which suspension setting you choose.