Meet Bentley's new Flying Spur, the "finest super-luxury sports sedan ever built"
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Bentley has unleashed a new 333km/h luxury four-door sports saloon for those who want to combine spirited grand touring with modern limousine levels of comfort, luxury and refinement.
As the firm celebrates its centenary year – with a major anniversary event planned next month - the third generation Flying Spur aims to be engaging whether you're behind the wheel or being chauffeured.
It is described by the car firm as the 'finest super-luxury sports sedan ever built'.
With a bold new grille, it is the first in living memory to feature a retractable 'Flying B' mascot which can be illuminated and rests below a Bentley badge. The gloss black radiator matrix with a chrome surround and vertical grill hark back to the original 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Flying Spur.
Powered by a 6.0 twin-turbo-charged W12 TSI petrol engine linked to a dual clutch eight-speed automatic gear-box, it will accelerate from rest to 96km/h in just 3.8 seconds. At low loads and strain it can reduce to just six-cylinders to save fuel and emissions.
Combining hi-tech and detailed craftsmanship, it is 130mm longer than the second generation car it replaces, boasts more interior space and promises "effortless ownership".
There are 5,331 intricately engraved diamond shaped 'knurlings' covering every point where the driver or passenger touches a rotary switch, and is also available on the air vents and centre clock.
It is the first Bentley to feature electronic all-wheel steering which makes it more nimble on the road, as the four wheels move independently to maximise agility both at slow speeds around town and faster highway driving.
Bentley explains: "During low-speed manoeuvres, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels.
"This has the effect of shortening the wheelbase, reducing the turning circle, increasing agility and making parking noticeably easier."
It also has 'all-wheel drive' which moves power between the wheels as needed.
First shown on the Continental GT, it also has a 'Toblerone-style' rotating centre console with three faces: a 12.3 inch digital touchscreen; three circular analogue dials (showing outside temperature, a compass and chronometer), or simply a plain face if drivers prefer a seamless calming 'digital detox' wood veneer fascia continuing around the cabin.
To illuminate the road ahead, it has powerful cut-crystal-effect LED matrix headlamps. At the rear are wrap-around lamps.
The car rides on 21 inch wheels as standard but with the option of 22-inch Mulliner wheels designed to emphasise the car's "unique personality and prowess."
The longer wheelbase allows a more spacious and luxurious cabin that features plenty of single and dual veneer wood options.
There are cossetting seats – based around "a comfortable armchair" - while those chauffeured in the rear can enjoy a luxurious ride thanks to a folding centre armrest and a manually deployed centre headrest that stows away when not in use to maximise visibility, along with a massage option. To let the light flood in, it can be ordered with a double-glazed panoramic glass sunroof.
Order books open this autumn and international customer deliveries begin in early 2020.
Bentley says it has been recreated 'from the ground up' on a new platform with sculpted surfaces and powerful lines made possible by the use of strong but flexible 'super formed' aluminium.
Lengthening the wheelbase by 130mm also gives it increased road presence thanks to stronger, more muscular lines sweeping the full length of the vehicle.
Bosses say the Flying Spur is such an advance in terms of technology, styling and comfort that it "owes only its name to its predecessor". The firm described the car as a "technological tour de force' of innovative features, connectivity, passenger comfort and 'driver excitement".
New three-chamber air springs allow the driver to adjust suspension on a range between limousine-style ride comfort and sporting levels of body control. Driver-assistance systems fitted as standard include 'traffic assist', 'city assist' and 'blind spot warning'. Night-vision, head up display and self-parking options are also offered.
Of the illuminated retractable Flying B mascot, it: "In Bentley's Centenary year, the mascot has been restyled for the next century and is an evolution of previous designs.
"Electronically-deployed and illuminated, it is linked to the welcome lighting sequence and keyless entry system as the driver approaches the car."
Bentley's traditional round 'bullseye' vents have been replaced in the centre of the dashboard with precision detailed vents with a Bentley clock sitting between, with fine bronze detailing.
The 6.0 litre engine's 'W' 12 configuration means the engine is considerably shorter than an equivalent 'V12', freeing up more interior cabin space. The 8-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission – the same as used by the Continental GT – promises 'smooth and refined acceleration, quicker gearshifts and improved fuel economy'
Bentley says the front end "feels much lighter" and "changes direction almost at the speed of thought", eliminating understeer and making the car overall feel more balanced.
A tailpipe control valve is tuned to provide a more discreet exhaust note inside the cabin for chauffeur-driven occupants.
Bentley said: "Whether driving or being driven, the all-new Flying Spur offers a unique combination of limousine luxury and sports sedan performance, blending bold road presence with world-leading interior quality and design, plus cutting-edge customer focused technology."
Bentley Motors chairman and chief executive Adrian Hallmark said: 'The Flying Spur is a ground up development that pushes the boundaries of both technology and craftsmanship to deliver segment-defining levels of performance and refinement.'
Bentley is currently undergoing a five-step turnaround plan and will offer an 'electrified' version of all its cars by 2025.
- Daily Mail