Bentley may have made its name with heavyweight, ultra-fast two-door ‘lorries’, but the brand proved just as capable of fitting four doors to its coachwork.
This tradition continued through the S and T-series models, right up to the final Mulsanne built under Vickers’ ownership. In fact, the first post-war car to emerge from Crewe with a body supplied by Bentley (and not a coachbuilder) was the Mark VI — a saloon that morphed into the R-type, which in turn spawned a two-door version dubbed the Continental.
The Continental GT may have kick-started Bentley's reformation in familiar two-door sporting format, but its four-door sibling was rightly considered essential to establishing Bentley as VW’s luxury division, and as a credible volume rival to its former bedfellow, Rolls-Royce.
Nevertheless, the car was not meant as a limousine. Its engineers remained preoccupied with the idea that a Bentley was bought to be driven, not driven in.
But buyers in the US – and now, more importantly, China – disagreed and made the Flying Spur the best-selling four-door Bentley ever without straying from the back seat.
It is chiefly their input and needs that have been addressed with the new model – a car that no longer requires (or warrants) a badge tie-up with the still-related Continental.
It is now a substantial event in its own right, but has the change in approach rendered the new Flying Spur a damp squib in its still sizeable home market? We give the driver the week off to find out.