Luxury British carmaker Bentley has lifted the covers off its new third-generation Flying Spur, revealing a ground-up development along with cutting-edge technology and features that the company believes will 'redefine' the Grand Touring segment.
While the new Flying Spur is unmistakably Bentley through and through, it’s a bold design that pushes the envelope and one that should largely future-proof the revered nameplate, at least for the next decade or so.
For the first time on a modern-day Flying Spur there’s a retractable and electronically-illuminated 'Flying B' mascot that’s also been re-imagined ‘for the next century’, as well as a sophisticated electronic all-wheel steering system – a first for the Bentley brand. That’s coupled with active all-wheel drive and Bentley Dynamic Ride incorporating new three-chamber air springs said to offer sublime ride comfort combined with high-performance levels of body control.
At the heart of the latest Flying Spur is the most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world known as the W12 TSI – a 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged hand-built unit producing a colossal 467kW of power and 900Nm of torque which is sent to the ground via the same eight-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission as used in the latest Continental GT.
Top speed is a staggering 333km/h, while acceleration from standstill to 100km/h takes just 3.8 seconds thanks to a new and sophisticated active all-wheel drive unit that uses a clutched system that delivers two-wheel drive to the rear wheels until such time as wheel slip is detected and drive is also sent to the front axle as required. The previous-generation used a fixed 60:40 power split the rear-front axles.
The latest active system varies torque distribution depending on the various drive modes selected. In Comfort and Bentley modes, up to 480Nm of torque will be sent to the front axle for enhanced grip, while in Sport it’s reduced to just 280Nm for a more dynamic drive.
The Spur’s new 48V electronic architecture also enables the latest version of Bentley’s Dynamic Ride system for improved handling and ride comfort by managing the stiffness of the anti-roll bar. Those three-chamber air springs allow for 60% more air volume than on the previous model while working with the car’s four ride-height sensors to air volume if differences are detected.
Like the Continental GT, the new Flying Spur shares the largest steel brakes in the world with massive 420mm front rotors while both front and rear calipers carry Bentley branding.
Drivers will be able to turn up the volume of the Spur’s exhaust note, too, thanks to a new adaptive exhaust system with variable settings which can be dialled down in the rear half of the system for a more discrete sound for those chauffeur-driven folks.
The new car isn’t that much longer than the second-generation model, but importantly, the wheelbase has been lengthened by 130mm, thereby increasing cabin space and passenger comfort.
While the new Flying Spur moves the game forward from a design sense, the key power lines are clearly evident and only made possible thanks to the use of superformed aluminium, first used on the Continental GT coupe.
Key highlights on the latest Bentley Flying Spur include the sporty gloss black radiator matrix with vertical vanes and a bright chrome surround that harks back to the iconic 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Flying Spur.
Large 21-inch wheels are fitted as standard, while those choosing the Mulliner specification get to pick between two unique 22-inch designs.
Inside, buyers can choose from an extensive list of single and dual wood veneer options, as well as some of the finest leather upholstery in up to 15 different colourways. There’s also Bentley’s latest and world-first three-dimensional diamond quilted leather door inserts available.
The infotainment and electronics are a huge step up from the model it replaces. There’s a floating centre console that houses a customisable 12.3-inch high-definition touchscreen with a proximity sensor that primes the screen for user inputs as well as newly designed air vents and clock that be ordered with new diamond knurling craftsmanship that matches the effect inside the LED Matrix headlamp assemblies. This effect has to be seen to be believed.
Buyers can also option Bentley’s industry-first, Bond-style rotating display, revealing three different display options at the touch of a button.
The all-new seats in the Flying Spur feature a twin-flute design along with features including heating, ventilation, multi-mode massaging, adjustable bolsters and top tit. The optional Mulliner Driving Specification marries the new three-dimensional leather with hand-stitching and embroidery needlework for the ultimate in luxury.
Advanced driver assistance systems also feature on the new Bentley which offers a complete suite of all the latest technology including a night vision camera system, a head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, low-speed traffic assist and city assist.
There’s also top-view 360-degree camera system that's complimented by cross-traffic warning and a self-parking feature.
Rear-seat passengers get Bentley’s new Touch screen remote that looks to be fixed into the console but is easily removed at the touch of a button for remote control of all blinds, rear-seat climate control, massage functions and mood lighting.
There are several audio options for the Flying Spur including the standard 10-speaker unit with 650 Watts. Step up a level and you get a Bang & Olufsen 1500W, 16-speaker system from the BeoSonic range. The top-spec unit by Naim is a 2200W, 19-speaker system with active base transducers built into the front seats.
You should have no issue choosing a colour either with no less than 17 portfolio Bentley colours available.
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2020 Bentley Flying Spur – specifications snapshot
- Engine: 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 TSI
- Power: 467kW
- Torque: 900Nm
- Top Speed: 330km/H
- 0-100 km/h: 3.8s
- Length: 5304mm
- Width: 1964mm
- Height: 1488mm
- Front overhang: 878mm
- Rear overhang: 1231mm
- Wheelbase: 3195mm
- Weight: 2435kg