(Bloomberg) -- On Friday, Bentley announced the fastest, most powerful production Bentley ever: the 2017 Continental Supersports.
This is the third iteration of the Supersports model that Bentley first produced in the 1920s and reintroduced in 2009. Everything on this latest model has been lightened, tightened ,and sculpted. The new car looks potent, fresh, and agile.
The $293,300 Continental Supersports four-seat coupe comes with a six-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine that gets 700 brake horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque, up 79bhp and 160 pound-feet over the 2009 version. It has Bentley’s eight-speed automatic paddle-shifting all-wheel drive. It’ll hit 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, an improvement by 0.3 seconds—pretty fast for a four-seat chariot that weighs 5027 pound. (For reference, that's not as fast as a Lamborghini Huracán or even a Ferrari 488 GTB, but it nearly touches the speed of the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus, which hits 60mph a mere 0.2 seconds faster.) Top speed is 209 mph, beating the previous figures by five miles per hour.
Better yet, the Continental Supersports also comes in a $322,600 four-seat convertible option, which has a 0-60mph sprint time of 3.7 seconds and a 205mph top speed. That makes it the fastest four-seat convertible on the market.
For both options, engine and suspension improvements in particular led to the freshly fast numbers, with newly designed, higher-capacity turbochargers and a revised charge-air cooling system to create more boost and power. Elsewhere, better engineering has added such things as a new torque converter and cranktrain and conrod bearings that streamline the car’s ability to transform fuel into power.
The Supersports comes with a refined stability control system that better balances the chassis but keeps the same rear-biased torque split that Bentley has put in other cars. That system sends 60 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels most of the time, but it will adjust that standard power split when the car loses traction.
On the exterior, Bentley has added the largest disc brakes in the world for their type (they work on individual front and rear wheels during acceleration out of corners in order to maintain power on the un-braked wheels), new lightweight 21-inch forged alloy wheels (20 kilograms lighter than their predecessors), and an optional titanium exhaust system that saves 5kg and makes the car sound “like rifle fire” as it downshifts, according to Bentley.
Although the car will make its formal debut outside in downtown Detroit on Sunday, preliminary photos show that it has newly sculpted front and rear bumpers with a carbon-fiber splitter and diffuser. Carbon-fiber hood vents, gloss-black front wing vents, and a gloss-black exhaust tailpipe are standard. (Remember, the titanium one is optional.) The front of the car has dark-tint headlamps and a black-lined grill; the rear has a black-lined bumper and an optional rear spoiler.
As is typical with Bentley, there are plenty of options to make this car unique on the outside, with the aforementioned rear spoiler, front splitter, Supersports badging, side decals, and glossy carbon-fiber engine cover. In addition, extremely pricey but coveted bespoke options can be formulated at the brand’s Mulliner facility in England, with virtually no limits to what look the car will assume.
Inside the four-seat cabin, Bentley has appointed a new diamond-quilted design for the seats and door panels. Checkered fascia panels, 10 different veneers, and myriad color options for stitching and leather colors are also available. The convertible comes with the customary neck warmer that blows warm air from behind the front seats toward their occupants.
Expect more information about each variant—and live photos—on Sunday morning in Detroit. The first cars will arrive in showrooms in May 2017.