Currently reading: New Bentley Flying Spur due in 2019 with more distinctive design
Luxury saloon is final design of current era before Bentley embraces electric power

Bentley’s next Flying Spur will be reinvented as a much more distinctive luxury saloon in 2019 and will be the last Bentley to be launched before the company completely reinvents its cars for the era of electrification.

The four-door Flying Spur will be Bentley’s answer to the likes of the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Mercedes-Maybach S600. It will begin a shift in style away from the Continental GT (although the two cars will continue to be closely related under the skin) and bring the curtain down on Bentley’s current era of design before an all-new look for the firm is introduced, most likely on Bentley’s first electric model.

UPDATE: First images of Flying Spur revealed - April 2019

Six new Bentleys on the way

Design work on the Flying Spur – and, indeed, the entire Continental family of models – has long been completed. The Continental GT coupeà unveiled at last year’s Frankfurt motor show and the Continental GTC cabriolet, which is set to be the second member of the family to be launched later this year, were designed alongside one another, with the Flying Spur following close behind through Bentley’s design studio.

Read our full road test of the new Bentley Continental GT

Autocar understands the Flying Spur’s body styling follows the themes of the Continental GT but has more distinct surfaces and sharper swage lines, something that’s traditionally been a challenge with aluminium body panels.

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Bentley is understood to have put far greater visual differentiation between the Flying Spur and the Continental to make more of it as a model in its own right. This follows a process started on the outgoing Flying Spur: whereas the original car featured the word ‘Continental’ as a prefix, the current Mk2 version did not.

The Continental GTC, meanwhile, will share its front end and doors with the coupeà but have a different rear-end design to accommodate a retractable fabric roof.

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Mulling the Bentley Mulsanne's future

A full range of engines is expected to be launched on the next Flying Spur, including Bentley’s V8 and W12 petrol options, and a plug-in hybrid based around a V6 petrol engine instead of going down the diesel route. Hybrid options will be key in bolstering Bentley’s sales in China in particular. In time, a Speed variant will crown the range. It will feature a higher-performance engine that will also be used in the Continental GT and GTC.

Once the Continental range has been completed, the firm will turn its focus to what Autocar understands will be a next step in its design, promising a more radical change to something more fresh and modern.

Bentley is known to be considering a fourth model line, on top of the Continental GT/GTC/Flying Spur family, Mulsanne and Bentayga, although officially all plans are on hold after the recent arrival of new boss Adrian Hallmark from Jaguar Land Rover. No future Bentley beyond the Flying Spur has been formally signed off for production.

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The favourite, however, is understood to be an electric car based on the Porsche- developed J1 platform, which is being introduced on Porsche’s first dedicated electric car in 2019, codenamed Mission E. Bentley’s EV, which would bring with it a new nameplate to the range, would be a sleek four-door, halfway between a 911 and a Panamera in size but pitched more towards the former in terms of driver appeal.

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A car of that size is believed to hold great appeal to Bentley, and was the favoured choice under recently departed boss Wolfgang Dürheimer, instead of two other options on the table: a smaller sports car inspired by the Speed 6 concept of 2015, and a smaller (and therefore less profitable) SUV to sit below the Bentayga in the range.

Opinion: Bentley embraces the future

At least one other electric Bentley could follow, possibly a reinvention of the Mulsanne flagship complete with a new model name. In addition to the stand-alone pure electric models, Bentley will have an electrified version of every model in its range by 2025, including plug-in hybrid variants of the Continental family and the Bentayga.

Read more 

Read our full road test of the new Bentley Continental GT

Bentely Mulsanne review 

Bentley Flying Spur review

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Mistertee123 1 May 2018

Autocar guesswork

You do all realise that's an Autocar render and not an official Bentley image, yes?


They've just photoshopped the new conti grill onto the existing flying spur.

jmd67 1 May 2018

The grille looks like it's

The grille looks like it's slipping off the front of the car. It ruins what's an otherwide great looking shape. I love the Coke bottle shape, like an updated Mk3 Cortina only a wee bit bigger and a tiny bit more expensive. 

abkq 1 May 2018

Bentley's bulk-reducing

Bentley's bulk-reducing programme is to be applauded, but on the evidence of this sketch there is still some way to go to match RR Ghost's serene elegance and formal confidence.