Full 2013 Bentley Supersports Convertible ISR Review
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What's New for 2013
The Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible ISR continues on for one more year.
The 2013 Continental Supersports Convertible ISR is the most powerful production car Bentley has built to date. That would be enough for most buyers, yet the fact that it is also a convertible -- rather than a coupe -- almost seems to thumb its nose at convention. With a claimed production run of just 100 examples worldwide, the chances of your ever seeing one are slim.
Built to commemorate Bentley's outlandish top-speed record set in 2011 on ice -- the frozen surface of the Baltic Sea off the coast of Finland, if you really want to get specific -- the Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible ISR (Ice Speed Record) is built to the same specifications as that car -- minus the snow tires, of course.
The powerhouse under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder engine that makes 631 horsepower. That's 16 hp above the next-closest Bentley's output, the Continental GT Speed, and the standard 2013 Continental GTC Convertible produces a paltry 567 hp.
But what good is all that power if you can't flaunt it? Both the exterior and interior of the ISR are unique to that car alone. The dark-gray "metallic" convertible top is constructed in layers, giving it an iridescent appearance. Three exclusive paint colors are available, and a no-cost option package adds racy (garish) red details and graphics to the body and wheels.
You'll struggle to find an analogous four-seat convertible to the Supersports Convertible ISR. The voluptuous 2013 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible is more seductively styled and costs half as much. For half-again more, the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Convertible will get you and your fellow aristocrats down the road in style and comfort as well, though at a more stately pace. It's also worth noting that the ISR is still based on the previous-generation Continental GT, rather than the newest and subtly improved (and cheaper) model that debuted last year.
In the end, shopping for an exotic grand touring car like this can come down to emotion more than regular car-buying logic. And getting to happily claim you have a one-in-100 made, 631-hp Bentley convertible in your garage seems mighty OK by us.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible ISR is a four-seat soft-top convertible offered in one essentially "loaded" trim and with but one option.
Standard features include 20-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, a rear spoiler, bi-xenon headlights, a power folding top, an adjustable suspension, parking sensors, unique exterior styling, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, four-way manual adjustable front seats, special interior trim, Bluetooth and a premium sound system. A navigation system and rearview camera are also included.
Ordering the Mulliner design package throws in (at no additional cost) red-painted Supersports design wheels, dual-louvered dark hood vents with red accent surrounds, "Supersports ISR" and graphic stickers on the lower-profile bodywork.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible ISR is amply powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 engine that produces 631 hp and 590 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic routes power to all four wheels. Bentley claims a sprint to 60 mph should require only 3.8 seconds. Naturally, the top speed has been validated by the Ice Speed Record at 205.48 mph.
The ISR could earn some records for fuel consumption, too. It earns an EPA-estimated 14 mpg in combined driving (12 city/19 highway).
The 2013 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible ISR comes standard with stability control, traction control, antilock brakes and dual front side airbags. Parking sensors and a rearview camera are also included.
Interior Design and Special Features
In keeping with the Supersports ISR's slant on performance, its interior foregoes Bentley's customary rich leather and impeccable wood veneers for a sportier aesthetic. Carbon fiber and faux suede are featured, and the regular Continental's comfortable front seats have been replaced with lightweight racing buckets.
Unlike the old Supersports 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.
Only the famous former race driver Juha Kankkunen can tell you what it's like to pilot the Continental Supersports Convertible ISR at 205 mph on ice, but we've spent quite a lot of time behind the wheel of various Continental coupes and a couple convertibles as well. Considering how "normal" a Continental GT drives, you might be disappointed if you're expecting an exotic car.
The star of the show, however, is truly the turbocharged W12. With 590 lb-ft of torque available almost immediately, stomping the gas pedal will result in awe-inducing acceleration. A torrent of propulsion is available anywhere in the rev range, and it pushes the car to extralegal speeds with ease. Through turns, the ISR is capable enough, but the car's uncommunicative steering and hefty, front-end-biased weight are always there to remind you that this isn't a sports car.
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