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2010 New York Autoshow: 2011 Continental Supersports Convertible

2010 New York Autoshow: 2011 Continental Supersports Convertible

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As reported by Bentley

(New York, NY USA) Bentley Motors is showcasing its fastest, most potent drop-top ever – the new 2011 Continental Supersports Convertible – during the New York Motor Show beginning this week. The newest addition to the Continental model range features a 621-horsepower, twin-turbocharged W12 engine that is capable of running on both gasoline and E85 bioethanol, making it both powerful and environmentally conscious.

Photo: Bentley

The new, muscular four-seat Supersports Convertible will be priced from $280,400 when it arrives at Bentley retailers this summer. Unmistakably Bentley in its design and craftsmanship, its interior signifies a dramatic re-interpretation of Bentley luxury. Satin-finished carbon fibre, Alcantara™ and ‘Soft Grip’ leather create a unique ambience with a distinctly sporting and contemporary style.

The entire 2011 Continental model range, including the new Supersports Convertible, will be capable of running on both gasoline and E85 bioethanol, or any combination of the two, reaffirming Bentley’s ongoing commitment to make all its cars biofuel compatible by 2012. Pioneered by the Supersports Coupe, this FlexFuel technology offers a reduction of up to 70 percent in CO2 emissions on a ‘well-to-wheel’ basis, a measure of a fuel’s net contribution to the atmosphere, not just tailpipe emissions.

“The new Supersports Convertible is the most powerful drop-top we’ve ever produced,” said Christophe Georges, President & Chief Operating Officer for Bentley Motors, Inc. “This extreme power combines with pioneering FlexFuel technology, now shared with all Continental models, reflecting Bentley’s ongoing commitment to more environmental motoring.”

The Continental Supersports Convertible
The new Continental Supersports Convertible is a car that must be driven to be fully understood. Behind the wheel it is immediately clear that a Supersports Bentley is a ‘fusion of extremes’ – the ultimate in extreme performance, every day practicality and unrivalled hand-crafted luxury.

Bentley’s Supersports program began as an ‘under the radar’ project exploring the possibilities of weight reduction on the Continental GT Coupé but with more power and torque. The largely experimental project soon crystallized into an official new car program, driven by the passion and enthusiasm of a small group of Bentley engineers and designers. Now the Supersports Convertible has received the same focus and the results are equally dramatic.

“The ‘extreme’ Bentley stable now has a new occupant in the form of the Supersports
Convertible,” said Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Member of the Board, Engineering. “It is a car every bit as purposeful and potent as the Coupé but with the panache of roof-down motoring.”

FlexFuel Technology Introduced On All 2011 Continental Models
FlexFuel technology, pioneered on the Continental Supersports Coupé in 2009, is now extended to the complete 2011 Continental range, including the new Supersports Convertible. The W12 6-liter power unit now has the technology to run on gasoline, E85 bioethanol or any mix of these two fuels – all from a single tank.

Bioethanol is blended with gasoline in a variety of percentages ranging from E10 (10 percent bioethanol) to the most widely known, E85, a ratio of 85 percent bioethanol to 15 percent gasoline to ensure cold-start capability.

Bioethanol presents other unique engineering challenges compared with gasoline, due to its chemical composition and characteristics. E85 biofuel has a very high octane rating of 105 but a lower energy content that requires a 30 percent increase in the engine fuel-flow rate.

This necessitated a complete review of the fuel system to identify and, if required, replace components deemed to be insufficiently resistant to the properties of ethanol.

Increased fuel flow is achieved through a returnless fuel system, twin variable flow-fuel pumps and a new closed-loop fuel rail design with pressure sensor. For the fuel system all O-rings, seals, gaskets and pipes are new while new valve coatings and hardened valve seat material provide additional lubrication. New spark plugs with a wider heat range allow for slower combustion.

A sensor in the fuel supply system detects the blending ratio in real time and varies the engine mapping to ensure power, torque and emissions remain at the same levels whatever fuel is used.

FlexFuel offers the possibility of up to a 70 percent reduction in CO2 net emissions on a ‘well to wheel’ basis, calculated by adding the CO2 emitted during the extraction and refining process (the ‘well’) with the CO2 released when the fuel is burnt during motoring (the ‘wheel’).

Biofuels can be sourced from sugar cane or soybean, or from “second-generation” sources such as agricultural waste and forestry residues. As biofuels are not derived from fossil fuels, the CO2 released during combustion is reabsorbed by plants during the photosynthesis process, thus creating an unbroken energy cycle.