British limousine commences performance testing

The next-generation Bentley Flying Spur has been spied at the Nurburgring for the first time, in the lead-up to the vehicle's production debut.

While there's still plenty of camouflage and false bodywork concealing the new limousine's final design, we can make educated guesses as to what's coming from the new Flying Spur based on the recently-revealed and related Continental GT coupe.

For starters, expect the styling to draw heavy inspiration from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept revealed at the 2015 Geneva motor show, for a lower and wider aesthetic than the current model.

The front fascia should be home to a revised set of headlights – including the availability of Matrix LED technology – in a similar quad-light layout to the coupe, while the rear should feature slimmer egg-shaped tail-lights like those found on the Continental GT and EXP Speed 6 concept.

Meanwhile, the new Flying Spur will adopt the Volkswagen Group's MSB-F modular architecture for rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles, meaning it shares common underpinnings with the Porsche Panamera.

The new component set should bring an array of new technologies while also saving weight, so expect features like autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control to be offered – as per the coupe – along with a decent reduction in overall mass to improve performance, handling and fuel efficiency.

While it should share roots with Porsche's sedan and wagon, the Flying Spur will likely remain available with a 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12, and it's also likely to get V8 and plug-in hybrid powertrains at some point down the line – the Bentayga's line-up could provide some clues.

According to overseas reports, the interior will be a little different to its Continental GT sibling, though our guess is that versions of the coupe's digital driver's display and 12.3-inch central infotainment system will feature, albeit with different designs or implementations.

It's believed the new Flying Spur will be revealed either later this year or early next, hinting at either a Paris (October) or Geneva (March) debut.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest Bentley updates.