Driven: 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible

2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible

Compared with the GTC, the all-wheel-drive system has been retuned for a slight rear bias to help eliminate power-on understeer and mitigate torque steer. Lowered 0.4 inch in front and 0.6 inch in the rear, the revised suspension controls body motions commendably and still provides a wonderfully supple ride.

The difference may be barely perceptible, but the Supersports is even speedier than the Speed, and that's to say, wicked fast: 60 mph in 3.9 drama-free seconds, according to Bentley. Mash Ferragamo to carpet long enough, and this car will allegedly hit 202 mph. We suspect it'll spend more time, however, idling in traffic on Rodeo Drive and Worth Avenue, where its driver might notice that the navigation screen approximates the graphics quality of an Atari 2600 and that its buttons are outclassed by those in the new Volkswagen Golf. So, too, are the Continental's no-frills gauges. Audiophiles who own an Audi A4 with the $850 Bang & Olufsen system will be disappointed by the Naim stereo in the Bentley -- even before they learn that it costs an additional $7180. These days, cars costing a quarter as much have features absent here -- ventilated seats, swiveling bixenon headlights, and soft-close doors, to name a few.

The Supersports convertible might be the most powerful droptop Bentley ever, but its price and age have both crept up to the point where we can't help but wonder if the most important thing to know about this Conti is that its replacement is due at this fall's Paris auto show, just as this Supersports goes on sale.

The Specs
ON SALE: October
PRICE: $286,695/$295,250 (base/as tested)
ENGINE: 6.0L twin-turbo W-12, 621 hp, 590 lb-ft
DRIVE: 4-wheel

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