Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible

Weekends: Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible

It is hard to imagine the sensation of driving a vehicle as powerful as the Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible without a silly looking grin plastered continuously on my face. Like Christmas morning as a young child, there is so much to take in all at once, my brain is on overload. I am left with no choice but to chuckle at the thought of what this day holds as I bask in the sounds, smells and sensations of driving a supercar on public roads near Southampton in the United Kingdom.

Performance comes by means of a 6.0L Flexfuel twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder powerplant. The most potent engine fashioned by Bentley to date, it delivers a spine-tingling 621 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 590 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000-4,500 rpm.

Mated to a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle-shifters, it reaches 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds while achieving a top speed of 329 km/h.

You might expect a car costing upwards of $300,000 to offer power seats for the front passengers, but the Supersports Convertible makes no such accommodation. Instead, lightweight seat frames feature manual adjustment and Diamond Quilted Alcantara coverings. Dimensions are geared perfectly for my medium-sized frame and the drive in from the coast to our hotel is both exhilarating and intimately comfortable.

Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa situated in Hampshire near Christchurch in southern England, features luxury accommodations in a setting straight out of a Dickens’ novel. It blends the ultimate in new world comfort with the class and sophistication of a bygone Victorian era.

A total of 58 rooms and suites define this openhearted property. Antique furnishings decorate the main lobby, hallways and rooms. Together with exquisite fabrics and wallcoverings, ultra-soft bedding, a double sink bathroom and two balconies facing the perfectly manicured lawn, we are encircled in luxury. Breathing a sigh of exhilaration, I promptly pour the complimentary champagne into two glasses before relaxing on the deck as the sun sets over New Forest.

2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the Restaurant at Chewton Glen. While the name itself sounds modest, the setting is anything but. Executive Head Chef Luke Matthews and his team craft perfection with every meal. The Restaurant has been awarded 3 Rosettes by the AA for its excellence in the use of ingredients, flavour combinations and intuitive service.

Casual dining and drinks take place in the bar under the watchful of eye of award-winning Sommelier Alan Holmes. Mr. Holmes was most recently chosen as the UK representative for the Wines of South Africa Sommelier World Cup where he competed head-to-head for the title. We spend the evening trying numerous creations prepared for our pleasure, then retire to the dining room for a spectacular meal designed to tantalize the palette.

2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
At the Ridgewood Road Pub

Chewton Glen is not only a hotel of the highest caliber, but is recognized as one the UK’s leading spas as chosen by SpaFinder and Conde Nast Traveller magazines. Treatments range from all variations of massage to facials, body treatments, holistic therapies and grooming. We laze the afternoon away at the 17-metre ozone treated swimming pool, full gymnasium and tennis courts, taking a walk in the early afternoon past the challenging 9-hole course on our way to the beach.

Portered, polished and primed, we leave the hotel behind for a few hours and head northwest on Ridgewood Road in search of one of England’s oldest pubs. Driving on the left side of the road in the right-hand drive Continental Supersports Convertible is surprisingly easy.

Tall hedges and fences overgrown with holly and ivy block the view ahead and it soon becomes a guessing game as to whether or not a vehicle is coming around the next corner. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I drop down a gear and push my foot forcefully to the floor.

Six hundred plus horsepower responds with unbridled restraint and I find it necessary to back off a bit lest I suddenly find myself unintentionally breaking the sound barrier. We soon find our quarry and drop in for some fish and chips and a pint.

To the relief of all three passengers and the various forms of vegetation lining the roadway to Chewton Glen, the drive back is considerably more soothing. As the designated driver, I am instructed to insure the crawl, in this case, takes place after our visit to the local pub.

2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 6.0-litre V12/6-speed automatic
Power/torque: 621 hp/ 590 lb-ft
Observed fuel economy: 16.7 L/100km over 440 km
Warranties: 3 years/ unlimited km (basic)
Competitors: Audi R8 5.2 FSI, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati GranTurismo, Porsche 911 Turbo S

Related links:
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

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