28 Feb 2013

New Bentley Flying Spur - specs, price and photos

Bentley will launch their new 4 door luxury saloon, the Flying Spur, at New York International Auto Show

Aside from the chassis, that is also used in the VW Phaeton, Bentley have pretty much thrown everything from the old model in the trash.  Including part of the name.  What was the Bentley Continental Flying Spur is now the Bentley Flying Spur.  This has been done to differentiate the new car as a luxury saloon (the word limousine has been hijacked by white, rusting, stretched Cadillacs)  from it's Continental GT siblings.

The Continental Flying Spur had been around since 2005 and used a 6 litre W12 engine allied to a 6 speed ZF gearbox - similar to the drivetrain found in the Audi S8.  The new model gets a revised version of the W12 but the new gearbox is an 8-speed ZF unit.

The engine produces 616bhp and 590 lb ft of torque.  That makes it the most powerful 4 door Bentley ever.  0-60mph takes 4.3 seconds and top speed is 200mph.  The Flying Spur gets four wheel drive (don't call it a quattro though) which is split 40:60 front to rear.  Apparently it also returns 19mpg.

The body and interior have been redesigned and, it has to be said, look fantastic.  The Flying Spur is a big car and the new bodywork hides it's bulk somewhat.  The lower door and shoulder creases work well to dispel the vast swathes of aluminium that make up it's flanks, the tapered rear comes together nicely and the front end is a very modern interpretation of how a Bentley should look.  BMW could learn a think or two about corporate grilles, with their increasingly bizarre kidney arrangement, although the Flying Spur's lower, full-width grille looks like something of an afterthought.

Happily, the headlights, are integrated well.  We'd been worrying about the Bentley headlamps -  the EXP9F concept's headlights were alarming.

Mitsubishi recently crowed from the rooftops that their new Outlander boasts a Cd of 0.33.  The slippiest it can be, they said, the best in class, they said.

The Bentley Flying Spur has a Cd of 0.29.

The interior is opulent as only Bentley (and it's divorcee Rolls Royce) can be, with four or five seat configurations, premium-quality leather using a softer, more durable hide than in the previous version and individual heating to every seat.  The wood used in the veneer is the finest known to man.  Apparently the mirror-polished veneer of the dash meets that of the door in a perfectly aligned curve in what looks like a single, unbroken 'wrap' of wood.

As well as luxury the Flying Spur contains lots of tech.  8" touch screen interface, Bluetooth, voice controlled infotainment, a top-spec 'Naim for Bentley' stereo, a touch screen in the rear, in-car wifi etc etc etc

You get all this in a Mercedes S Class but the Mercedes is in need of a redesign.  It feels old fashioned, whilst the Bentley is bang up to date.

The Flying Spur is only 50kg lighter than the outgoing model (2475kg) but the suspension has been softened by 10% at the front and 13% at the rear - more in line with a luxury saloon than a GT.  However, the rate of stiffness increase during hard cornering has been increased - which at least means it won't roll through corners like a sausage on a cross-channel ferry plate.

As well as tech you can touch the Flying Spur comes with all the latest driver aids, including ESC, adaptive damping, variable assist steering and variable ride height.  The entire car is lowered in two stages, at 121mph and at 149mph in order to reduce drag.

The Bentley Flying Spur will be revealed on 5 March and will cost £140,000.