Johannesburg - The Bentley Continental Supersports was launched as a limited-edition halo version to see out the old range shortly before the new-generation Continental made its word debut at last month’s Frankfurt motor show.

Just 710 units of this British mink-coated missile have been built worldwide and South Africa has secured 12 of them, selling at R4.4-million apiece.

The 710 refers to the car’s output in horsepower, which translates to 522kW in the metric system, and it’s applied to tarmac via all-wheel drive and sits atop air suspension.

The Supersports is pitched as the grandest of grand tourers and its appeal lies in the way it marries supercar performance with regal luxury.

Visual portrayal of the Supersport’s top-dog status in the Continental heirarchy include gloss-black bonnet vents, new front and rear bumpers with carbon fibre splitter and diffuser, and a rifled exhaust tail-pipe. The black wheels and black grille continue the sporting visual statement, as does a large boot spoiler.

Ceramic brakes come standard, and you can order red calipers to liven up the look.

Inside, every surface in the finely-manicured cabin is clad in either luxury cowhide, chrome or carbon fibre, all presented with a proper Bentley touch such as diamond-stitched seats and the unique chequerboard treatment of the carbon fibre dashboard panels.

In contrast with some ‘four seaters’ that barely have room for a pair of chihuahuas in the rear, this Bentley can realistically carry two people in the back.

Space in those two rear seats is admittedly on the tight side and this is no car for long family trips, but it was still acceptably sized to transport a young lady to her matric farewell without creasing her dress.

This two-door coupe is being billed as the world’s fastest four seater, and with a top speed of around 336km/h nobody is likely to dispute the claim.

This supercar in a business suit also gets off the line pretty quickly, and recorded a 3.7 second zero to 100km/h time when we took it to the Gerotek test track - an impressive feat for a 2.3 ton behemoth and a worthy performance for the most powerful road car Bentley has yet made.

The brakes were up to the task in our emergency-braking tests too, but they did overheat and require cooling afterwards in this heavy car.

This means it’s also no nimble ballerina in the bends, but the fat rubber and all-wheel drive do ensure a very decent level of grip, in cahoots with the stability control system.

FACTS

Bentley Continental Supersports 

Engine: 6-litre, W12 turbopetrol
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
Power: 522kW @ 5900rpm
Torque: 1017Nm @ 2050-4500rpm
0-100km/h (tested Gauteng):3.7 seconds
Top speed (claimed):336km/h
Price: R4 450 000
Warranty: 3-year/unlimited km
Service plan: 5-year/75 000km

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