In 1994, Rolls-Royce Motors, who at that time owned the Bentley brand, previewed a convertible concept car at the Geneva Motor Show – the Concept Java. The car was designed to be a highly desirable Bentley, but smaller, more affordable, yet still exclusive in order to maintain the integrity of the brand. It was to appeal to a new range of potential buyers and generate increased sales volume for Rolls-Royce. At the time the current Bentley Continental R was an ultra-exclusive £180,000 in the UK, within reach of a very select market, selling only 200–300 units a year. The Concept Java never went into production in the form seen in 1994, although 13 cars were made for the Sultan of Brunei. However, the Bentley Continental GT realised the concept of the Java as a more affordable Bentley, manufactured in much larger volumes. Whilst external styling is different, the dashboard design was clearly influenced by the Java.
In February 2009, Bentley announced a limited production of the Bentley Continental Supersports. The car was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, announced by Jay Leno, to be available in autumn 2009 worldwide, followed by Flex Fuel-compatible models in North America by summer 2010.
The first Bentley capable of running on both petrol (gasoline) and biofuel (E85 ethanol), its 6.0-litre W12 engine is rated at 630 PS (463 kW; 621 bhp) at 6,000 rpm and 800 N⋅m (590 lb-ft) at 1,700–5,600 rpm – using either fuel. The car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0.0 to 62.1 mph) in 3.7 seconds and 0 to 160 km/h (0.0 to 99.4 mph) in 8.9 seconds, with a top speed of 329 km/h (204.4 mph). This makes it the fastest and the most powerful production Bentley ever at the time of production. The Supersports is already known as the best handling Bentley. Bentley says the Supersports can deliver 1.29 g forces on a 300-foot (91 m) skidpad, as compared to its sibling the Continental GT speed, which can perform up to 0.98 g forces on a 300-foot (91 m) skidpad.
It includes a revised ZF 6HP26A Tiptronic automatic with a "Quickshift" system that reduces shift times by 50% and enables double downshifts. The car uses a Torsen T-3 centre differential for the 40:60 rear-biased torque split for the four-wheel-drive system. Other changes include revised Continuous Damping Control (CDC), 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels (with increased 25 mm (1.0 in) offset on rear wheels) with 275/35 ZR20 Pirelli Ultra High-Performance tires, advanced Bosch Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with switchable Dynamic Mode, Carbon fibre-reinforced Silicon Carbide (C/SiC) ceramic disc brakes (claimed to be the largest brakes ever fitted to a production car at the time of production), 110 kilograms (243 lb) weight saving over Continental GT Speed and an automatic retractable spoiler (deploys at 80 km/h (50 mph)