Four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen recently set an insane ice-speed record of 205.48 mph on the frozen Baltic Sea off the Finnish coast. The car, a Bentley Continental Supersports convertible, was driven on standard tires, and Bentley officials hasten to claim that its environmental impact was minimized by the use of E85 bio-ethanol fuel, so there’s that.
Setting a speed record on ice in a convertible makes perfect sense, so why not release a whole passel of droptops to commemorate the event? That’s exactly what Bentley is doing to celebrate this amusing footnote in automotive history, announcing a 100-unit run of Ice Speed Record (ISR) editions of the Continental Supersports convertible. They’re based on the original Conti architecture; while the second-generation Continental GT coupe has been released, the convertibles and Flying Spur sedan still have gen-one underpinnings for now.
The ISR’s most notable alterations come in the name of performance. Tweaks to the intake system and intercooler help whip up 11 more horsepower than a standard Supersports convertible, and the ISR’s 631 hp make it the most powerful Bentley ever. Maximum torque is unchanged at 590 lb-ft. The six-speed automatic is still of the conventional torque-converter variety and channels the ISR’s power to all four wheels, but it has been optimized for rapid shifts.
The front-to-rear 40/60-percent power distribution allows you to “steer the car with the gas pedal,” says Bentley, although this portly VW Phaeton derivative probably isn’t the best choice for drifting competitions. To stop the 2.5-plus-ton behemoth, Bentley employs eight-piston brakes with carbon-ceramic discs.
This Much Mass Shouldn’t Be This Quick
Straight-line performance leaves little to be desired; we figure it’s good for a 0-to-60-mph run of just under four seconds and a quarter-mile sprint in the low twelves. We probably don’t need to point out that these are astounding numbers for something with a curb weight rivaling that of an aircraft carrier. Top speed is an ungoverned 202 mph, and Bentley promises that the Karmann-engineered convertible top will remain entirely unfazed by any speed record attempts you might personally undertake.
Now, the Aesthetic Tweaks
Just three exterior colors are available: Quartzite, Beluga, and Arctica White. The exclusive dark gray fabric top (with metallic effect) is intended as a direct complement to the paint hues. Red accents adorn the dual air inlets on the hood, the 20-inch wheels, and the “Ice Speed Record” badges on the flanks. Inside, red also offsets the carbon-fiber trim, and red stitching and piping run throughout. The Breitling clock on the dashboard also is accentuated in red.
As mentioned, the Supersports Convertible Ice Speed Record is still based on the first-generation Continental GT platform, but the touch-screen infotainment system of the second-generation car has been integrated. It’s a welcome upgrade, and there also is a new-gen display in the instrument cluster.
Even though this ultimate Convertible is a pretty amazing car, we look forward to the next generation. Like the new Continental GT coupe, it will shed a decent amount of weight, and its lines will be a bit crisper and less swollen. That said, it will be a while before the new model comes to market with this kind of power; the standard models will be launched first, likely including the Audi-sourced, turbocharged V-8 that Bentley has only confirmed for the coupe. So if you’re feeling impatient, we can’t blame you. Go ahead and write the check for one of these bad boys—you’re highly unlikely to be disappointed.