29 Apr
Create a questionable record, reap the marketing windfall

What do you do when you’re Bentley, and you want to create a spark in your marketing efforts? Easy — you break a difficult (but dubiously fringe) record, create a limited edition vehicle to commemorate this nominal achievement, and let the marketing monkeys fly. Such is the case with their latest Continental Supersports Convertible ISR, the ISR standing for “Ice Speed Record”.  The reason being that Bentley just broke the world record on ice with a speed of 205.48 mph on the Baltic Sea off the coast of Finland, driven by four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen. What’s interesting is that Bentley did it with their Continental Supersports Convertible, which is odd because not only is a convertible the last car you’d want to be driving on the frozen Baltic Sea, but also because convertibles weigh more than hardtops. And they used stock tires. Audi broke that record less than a month later when fellow Finn driver Janne Laitinen hit a top speed of 206.1 mph (also off the coast of Finland), but that wasn’t with custom tires — they used Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded rubber. [Of headscratching note in this twist of intra-family chest-thumping is that Audi/VW owns Bentley.]

To maximize exposure of their frosty achievement, Bentley is creating a limited run of 100 Continental Supersport Convertible ISRs, modifying the intake system and intercooler to generate 11 more horses than a standard Supersport Convertible — lifting the ISR to 631 hp, making it the most powerful Bentley ever. What’s curious is that Bentley is basing the ISR on the original Continental chassis, even though the second-generation Continental GT coupe was just released. Why they chose to use obsolete underpinnings seems odd. Regardless, the ISR has all wheel drive with a 40/60-percent front-to-rear power distribution, ensuring that with 631 hp under the hood (and 590 lb-ft of torque), you won’t need ice underneath your tires to have them spinning like a Fox News “correspondent”. The highly exclusive drop-top will hit 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, and reach a top speed of 202 mph. As for aesthetics, the ISR will only be available in three colors — Quartzite, Beluga, and Arctica White — all with exclusive dark gray metallic top, 20″ wheels, ISR badging, and copious red detailing and piping.

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