overview: Colin Sharp | images courtesy Bentley

Bentley is an iconic marque, part of motoring history from boulevard to track. A decade or so ago I visited the home of Bentley – Crewe in the north-west of the UK – and met the softly spoken Raul Pires, the man responsible for most of the Bentley Continental GT’s success. The Brazilian-Italian penned the much-acclaimed coupé’s distinct signature and also provided the exterior styling for its four-door derivative, the Flying Spur, and the convertibles that followed.

Pires said: ‘The Continental GT was an amazing opportunity; to be given a blank sheet of paper to design what became the most successful car in Bentley history.’ Sure enough, Raul certainly got it right because his design was awarded: The Best Show Car 2002, Paris Motor Show; The Best Production Car Exterior Design 2003, Detroit Motor Show; and The Most Beautiful Car in the World 2003, Turin.

Fifteen years later the Continental GT remains a benchmark and the Supersports represents a limited edition of what is currently the fastest four-seat coupé in the world. There are only 710 of these grand tourers to be made in coupé and convertible guise; no doubt the Continental GT Supersports is destined to become a collector’s item for those with singularly unfolded money.

On the launch in Johannesburg, we drove both models on a route circumventing Kyalami and Lanseria airport and the experience was memorable. The Supersports is the ultimate road-going Continental GT, the coupé accelerating from 0-100km/h in 3,5 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 336km/h with the convertible being just fractionally slower. The experience it offers is best described as supercar performance coupled to the elegance, comfort and prestige associated with Bentley.

For the full article see Habitat #260 July / August 2017 | Subscribe now