"2010 Bentley Continental Supersports"
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Roadshow Video Reviews
Roadshow Video Reviews
2010 Bentley Continental Supersports
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>> Everyone knows James Bond drove an Aston Martin DB5, right? Not exactly. Consult the good book and you'll find he actually drove a Dispoke [phonetic] Turbo Bentley coupe, kind of like this one.
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Okay, so to be accurate, Bond drove a bastardized super-charged Bentley, and this one has twin turbos that are quite legit. No matter. Both unleash the hounds of hell. Our car wears a virginal coat of ice colored paint on the outside, while sporting a quilted red and black bordello motif on the inside. Now, coming into the rest of the cabin, you'll find a whole lot of borrowed stuff from basically Volkswagen, and that's not good. It's old, stale tech. First of all, here's your navigation unit. What the hell's that? That's the smallest, cruchiest looking screen on earth today. You can get a hundred-dollar Garmin that looks way better than that and functions better. So this is a big let-down. More proof that a lot of rich folks have more money than sense. And the screen is not a touch screen even though it's easily reached and has large, what appear to be touch zones, but you gotta used the assignments on the physical buttons around the side. Not a bad thing, but what a waste of real estate. I've got all of that just so I can hit "Street"? You got this controller right here, which has some haptics to it. It'll operate differently depending where you are. And I generally find it just kinda stiff and unpleasant. It's just waggley. It doesn't let you jog around. It's just not well-mounted. The audio system is a wonder, as you might imagine in a car like this. It's a Naim system, N-A-I-M. British stuff. Eleven hundred watts, I think it's 15 speakers, two of which are subs, and eight different DSP modes, and a really frustrating on-screen interface. Here's the needlessly complicated way you handle bass and treble. Why does it look like that? That's just... looks like a seating chart for an auditorium. That doesn't analogize to setting tone to me. Sources on this car are AM and FM. No HD radio. You've got Sirius satellite radio in here. Single or six-disc CD, depending how you option the car. Over here we have this MMI: multimedia interface. You can slap on a number of dongles. This one here is outfitted for an iPod or iPhone. Navigating, once you get an iPhone or iPod connected is kind of a disaster. If you've always wanted a Brightling [phonetic] watch, but don't have one, just buy this car and you get one there wedged in the console.
Some interesting controls down here arrear of the shifter. Notice that we have the ride height button that lets you adjust the vehicle's height from a little higher to a little lower. And the really fun doohickeys are these right here, which let you play with the rear spoiler. Up and down and different notches and it's...
Now, with a car like this, you're going to be going forward a lot more than backward, and forward really fast. But occasionally, you will have to reverse. And you do you have park distance sensors that are standard on the Bentley Continental Super Sports or the optional backup camera. Can you believe that? You spend $267,000 on a car, and they're gonna nickel and dime you for a backup camera. So be it.
One gearbox in this guy, this rather charmingly adorned shifter, goes to a six-speed automatic. Tiptronic [phonetic] shifters are -- thank God -- appropriately mounted here on column-mounted stalks, not something that flies around with your steering wheel. So that's an important piece of credibility in this price class. But don't get too haughty and all cocky about your transmission when you buy your Bentley, because you know what? The same gearbox is found in a Hyundai Genesis.
Now, in the last 50 years or so, folks have forgotten that Bentley used to be the sports and racing variant of big English cars. Rolls Royce was always your luxury ride. But everyone thinks Bentley's just a luxury ride until you get in here. Look at these seats. These are gonna remind you of a sporting heritage. A carbon fiber shell, no power adjustments to save waste so you've got a manual level right here to handle recline, another one up here to handle for and aff [phonetic], and if you wanna change the seat height, you go to the dealer. They'll adjust that for you. Oh, and if you wanna put folks in the backseat, don't. There aren't any. They took those out to save about a hundred pounds and gave you a cargo shelf with a pretty cool carbon fiber hold bar. 'Course up here is where the Super Sport story gets pretty super. Six-liter W12. It's a Volkswagen thing; they own these guys. 621 horsepower, 590 foot-pounds of torque. The car weighs just a tick under 5,000 pounds. All that combined means 0-60 happens in 3.7 seconds. Basically as fast as a Tesla Roadster Sport. But this is quite a bit bigger. Also, this car is Flex Fuel; it'll run on regular gasoline or EAE5: 85 percent ethanol. Isn't that cute? They're not doing it to be green; they're doing it to increase their "cafe" -- corporate average fuel economy -- across the Bentley line. And it's a pretty good marketing gimmick.
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The Super Sport is an all-wheel drive ride with a Torson [phonetic] center-mounted differential. And torque is split by default 60 percent to the rear. On the road, even a car with this much power can be dramatically sharpened by leaving the gear lever in the sport position. The transmission wakes up and reaches higher. And while that does get a little busy in everyday driving, it's better than the standard drive mode, which is always hunting top gear. And of course, manual pedal shifting is the real deal. This is not the bank vault experience of other Bentleys. It's loud. You hear a lot of road noise. Bellowing, deep exhaust moans...
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And a nasty hashing sound when you get on the carbon ceramic brakes. But if you just want a Bentley with two manual seats, no cup holders, and a rear end two inches wider than stock, you're probably not too concerned about noise.
In the end, this car wasn't as much about sheer power to me as it was about the ability to make that power fun. After a little get-acquainted time, this car shrinks, which is high praise. It's a big coupe that still knows how to dance, an English car that thinks it's German, and a great public service. Listening to one of these pull away hard is free symphony.
Okay, let's price our Continental Super Sports. $267,000 is base and includes most everything. You're gonna add $5,000 though in gas-guzzler taxes and destination charges, an insulting $1,350 for a rear-view camera. Your accountant may cringe. Your neighbors will probably sneer, but he'll love it.
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