March 2, 2011
Last month, Finnish race car driver Juha Kankkunen set a world speed record on ice, driving a Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible a whopping 205.48 miles per hour over the frozen Baltic Sea. To commemorate the event, Bentley debuted an all-new special edition Wednesday at the Geneva Auto Show: the Continental Supersports “Ice Speed Record” edition.
Finished in either black (“Beluga”), gray (“Quartzite”) or white (“Arctica White”), the Ice Speed Record model is the most powerful Bentley in history, boasting a twin-turbocharged W12 putting out 631 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. That adds an extra ten horses on top of Bentley’s previous horsepower leader, the standard Continental Supersports.
Power bump aside, the “Ice Speed Record” Continental is otherwise nearly identical to the Continental Supersports, featuring the same carbon ceramic brake discs, sporty exhaust system, and 20-inch, ten-spoke wheels as its sporty stablemate. The “Ice Speed Record” model even shares the Supersports’ ability to run on regular gasoline, E85 bio-ethanol fuel, or any combination of the two.
But, Bentley says the convertible-only “Ice Speed Record” Continental is a bit quicker than the Continental Supersports, dashing to 60mph in just 3.8 seconds and 100mph in just 9.5 – a few tenths quicker than the Supersports. The models do, however, share an extraordinary top speed of just over 200mph.
“Juha Kankkunen’s drive was a remarkable achievement and worthy of a very special car,” said Wolfgang Duerheimer, Bentley’s chief executive. “The Continental Supersports ‘Ice Speed Record’ is a true driver’s car that captures that unique Bentley spirit. It offers extreme performance, agility, and an extrovert personality, while retaining the refinement, handcrafted luxury, and comfort our customers expect.”
If you’re one of the customers Duerheimer is talking about, you’d better act fast, as Bentley says it plans to build just 100 “Ice Speed Record” models for the entire world. Although a final number for the United States hasn’t been announced, you can bet it won’t be long before the most powerful Bentley ever is sold out.
JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.