That happened when I was watching the news on TV, and the stories were all about Florida's unemployment rate hitting 11.2 percent, and I looked out and sitting in the driveway was a car worth more than our house and the 5 acres it sits on, plus everything inside, including the dogs and cats.
Our Bentley Continental Supersports was a nice, no-extra-charge, light cream color called, for some reason, "Ice." Paying an extra $32,000 for a paint job would just be showing off, right?
The 2010 Continental Supersports is billed as the fastest, most powerful Bentley ever. No kidding. I am serious when I say it feels like more than the advertised 621 horsepower. Typically, in a car this heavy – close to 5,000 pounds – the acceleration sort of sneaks up on you. Not the case with the Supersports, which has a sinister, growling exhaust note that sounds nothing like a luxury car.
Which it is, because it's a Bentley. But in an effort to save weight, engineers removed the plush seats and replaced them with ultra-thin Sparco buckets that aren't even power-operated, which saves a pound or two as well. Those engineers removed the rear seat entirely – it's now just a carpeted luggage area. And they added standard carbon-ceramic disc brakes that stop you like you've tossed out a boat anchor.
Those engineers also did everything they could to make the Continental Supersports feel light on its feet, but even the most sophisticated suspension and fat 20-inch tires and gorgeous, 10-spoke black wheels can't mask the intertia of this much weight when you toss the car into a tight corner. That weight does, however, help make the Supersports rock-solid on the highway, and while it does ride a bit rougher than the regular Continental GT Speed, no one will complain.
This is, however, a car built to go very fast, and it does: Bentley claims a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, and a top speed of 204 mph. It has, as you would expect, all the latest safety features, thankfully, including all-wheel-drive. Steering is quick but linear. It's a surprIsingly easy car to drive, but if you hammer the throttle hard enough, be prepared for adventure, because you're waking a beast.
That Bentley has the resources and the singleminded will to build a car like the Continental Supersports is remarkable – as is the fact that there are customers lining up to buy them.
If you are among them, good for you. But don't flaunt that $32,000 optional paint job.
2010 Bentley Continental Supersports
Base price: $267,000
Price as tested: $273,515
EPA rating: 12 miles per gallon city driving, 19 mpg highway.
Details: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive sports coupe with a 6.0-liter, 621-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission.