What's New for 2012
The 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports 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. This high-performance variant of the standard Continental GT attempts to expand the Bentley appeal beyond driving-oriented luxury buyers to those with an eye for exotic sports cars. The resulting vehicle might not attract either, but instead may tap into a narrow band where the two worlds collide.
For drivers who prioritize performance, the base model Continental GT with its 4.7-second 0-60-mph sprint and top speed of 199 mph will not disappoint. Yet the Supersports proves both quicker and faster, reaching 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and topping out at 204 mph. Those numbers don't lie, but neither does this one: $77,100. That's the premium you'll pay for the Supersports.
Opting for the Continental Supersports requires additional sacrifices. A parcel shelf replaces the cramped rear seats, while a firmer suspension compromises ride quality. And manually operated seats seem out of place in a car that costs more than a quarter of a million dollars (that's a big number, right?). At least for 2012, the Supersports receives the GT's updated infotainment system. The previous unit was a target of ridicule in past models.
The upgraded infotainment unit being the only significant revision for the 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports, buyers might be drawn to more exotic packages. The Aston Martin DBS is similarly priced and more deftly blends luxury and performance. Ferrari's 458 Italia costs slightly less and offers more agility, as do the McLaren MP4-12C and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. 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 is a two-seat high-performance version of the Continental GT coupe 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, parking sensors, unique exterior styling, automatic wipers, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rear parcel shelf, four-way manual lightweight front seats (mounted to the owner's preferred driving position), 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.
Compared to the regular GT, the lightweight, performance-oriented Supersports offers fewer options. But options do include 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 GT's seats.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports 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. Poor fuel economy -- 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined by EPA estimates -- should come as no surprise.
Standard safety features for the Continental Supersports include antilock carbon-ceramic disc brakes, stability and traction control and side curtain airbags (coupe). In Edmunds brake testing, the Supersports came to a stop from 60 mph in a very short 109 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
Given the Supersports' performance slant, its interior foregoes Bentley's customary rich leather and impeccable wood veneers for track-inspired carbon fiber and faux suede materials. Lightweight racing buckets, meanwhile, replace the comfortable front seats. Unfortunately these seats don't feature power adjustments, nor are they height-adjustable. Bentley will custom fit seats to the driver, although this pretty much limits who can drive the car (which may not be a bad idea considering).
Seat issues aside, the Supersports' interior is as beautifully made as any other Bentley. Every element of the cabin, whether it's knurled chrome switchgear or expertly laid carbon fiber, seems artfully created by a master craftsman. The trunk is generous by exotic GT standards and the lack of cramped rear seats will accommodate any cargo overflow.
Tipping the scales at approximately 5,000 pounds, the 2012 Bentley Continental Supersports is no featherweight. Yet in Edmunds testing, the Supersports ran through the slalom course at 67.8 mph, a speed comparable to the much lighter BMW M3 Convertible. It's an impressive feat, yet the Bentley's heft doesn't go unnoticed. Those accustomed to the traditional plush Bentley ride might also be in for a surprise, since the firmly sprung Supersports is considerably less luxurious, regardless of which suspension setting you choose.